Leading People

Leading People

Today’s principals are charged with a wide array of responsibilities – from generating better student outcomes, to recruiting, managing, and retaining high-quality faculty and staff, to cultivating collaboration and collective learning. 

Offered as a course within the Certificate in School Management and Leadership (CSML), Leading People provides school leaders with the skills needed to manage and motivate staff, foster continuous improvement, and build leadership capabilities among individuals, groups, and teams throughout the school.

Leading People participants will:

  • Implement specific strategies to cultivate a skilled and motivated staff, ensure staff members are aligned with the school’s vision and objectives, and build shared ownership around these goals.
  • Learn how to distribute leadership among staff and across the school community to increase productivity, collaboration, and empowerment.
  • Establish a supportive school culture where systems and structures enable all adults to become engaged learners and gain expertise through collective learning and continuous improvement.
  • Understand the school leader’s role in communicating institutional goals to community stakeholders and identify strategies that can help foster greater buy-in for these goals.

Course Syllabus & Calendar

View modules and deadlines for upcoming editions of this course. The syllabus and calendars are downloadable. 


Mary Grassa O'Neill

Mary Grassa O'Neill, CSML Faculty Co-Chair, Senior Lecturer on Education; Faculty Director, School Leadership, HGSE

Monique Bruns Thompson

Monique Burns Thompson, CSML Faculty Co-Chair, Senior Lecturer of Business Administration, HBS

Amy Edmonson

Amy Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management, HBS

David Fubini Head Shot

David Fubini, Senior Lecturer of Business Administration, HBS

Monica Higgins

Monica Higgins, Kathleen McCartney Professor of Education Leadership, HGSE

Deborah Jewell-Sherman

Deborah Jewell-Sherman, Gregory R Anrig Professor of Practice in Educational Leadership, HGSE

Susan Moore Johnson

Susan Moore Johnson, Jerome T. Murphy Research Professor in Education, HGSE


The course also features engaging case studies of the following practitioners:

  • Dr. Todd Boucher, Principal, Popps Ferry Elementary School in Biloxi, MS
  • Ryan Huppert, Principal, City High-Middle School in Grand Rapids, MI
  • Dr. Joey Jones, Principal, Robert Frost Middle School in Rockville, MD
  • Dr. Araceli Montoya, Principal, Wildflower Accelerated Academy in Goodyear, AZ
  • Dr. William Healy, Orthopedic Surgeon and Former Chairman of Orthopedics at Beth Israel Lahey Health in Burlington, MA
  • Dr. Michael Thompson, Senior Orthopedic Surgeon at Beth Israel Lahey Health in Burlington, MA

Course Details

World-class Harvard faculty research adapted to the PreK-12 school context
Online icon 100% online and interactive
participants icon Features case studies of leaders from a diverse cross-section of schools and businesses from across the country
Global Networking Icon Global peer network of school leaders
Solutions icon Develop a toolkit and solutions that are tailored to improving your school
A PDF brochure overview of Leading People, a Certificate in School Management and Leadership course

Learn more about our transformative learning experience for PreK-12 school leaders.