GOLD Project

GOLD Project

Growth-Orientated Leadership Development (GOLD) Project for Effective and Sustainable Rural School Renewal

A new collaboration designed to address the shortage of future principals and strengthen professional development of current school leaders is underway. The project, entitled, Growth-Oriented Leadership Development (GOLD) is being coordinated by members of the UNL Department of Educational Administration (EDAD), in partnership with the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association (NRCSA), the Nebraska Council of School Administrators (NCSA), Educational Service Units (ESUs), and the Nebraska Department for Education (NDE).

This program is seeking federal funds to develop current and future principals from within—a grow your own model. Over the next several months, a UNL EDAD team will be inviting districts to join the effort. The team is inviting approximately 60 schools to participate, with half receiving focused training while the other half continues its current efforts without the training. Districts not initially selected for the training group would be first in line for the next round of the program, if funded.

The project features small teams consisting of the current principal and two or three teachers from the same building who would attend large face to face and Zoom sessions, beginning in fall 2023. Sessions would include research-based instruction aligned with Marzano’s Balanced Leadership and recent research funded by the Wallace Foundation on effective principals. In addition to attending sessions with others from across the state, participants would receive individualized, on-site coaching and support through the grant. The grant is modeled after a similar program in Michigan which has a track history of a lot of success.

Districts interested in participating should watch for information through NRCSA updates, ESU superintendent meetings, or by contacting the EDAD members listed below.


  • Develop Current & Future Leaders (grow your own model)
  • Strengthen School Leadership
  • Improve Principal & Teacher Retention


The Content & What We Do

Principal & 2-3 teacher-leaders per building receive context-based, ongoing coaching & professional development by grant-funded facilitators. GOLD Dimensions include:

Shared Vision of School Renewal

Positive School Culture & Healthy Environment for Learning & Growth for all Staff & Students

Teaching & Learning Balanced Instructional Leadership

Distributed Leadership & Empowerment

Evidence-based & Network-Supported Decision Making

The Implementation Process (How)

The Structure

  • UNL Management and Research Team
  • Trainers/Coordinators
    • Help with selection/training of facilitators, communication with schools, districts & ESUs, support facilitators, other presenters
  • Coaches
    • Facilitate small group work with building-level teams (1 principal, 2-3 teacher leaders)

     Sign Up Here to Participate the GOLD Project!     

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Nicholas J. Pace

Nicholas J. Pace Professor & Interim Dean, College of Education & Human Sciences

Jiangang Xia Associate Professor & ED. D. COORDINATOR

Scott Sturgeon Associate Professor of Practice

Don Johnson Assistant Professor of Practice