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Instructional Leadership: Learning Leadership for School Improvement and Innovation

About the program

Highly effective instructional leaders create a culture of teaching excellence by improving the quality of instruction and reducing variability in instructional quality, in every classroom, in order to improve student learning.

Instructional Leadership needs to be aimed at enhancing structures and processes in our educational systems in order to improve outcomes. Improvement may be thought of as doing what has been proven to work better and with higher reliability. Innovation provides new and ultimately better ways of teaching and learning.

Unlike traditional definitions of transformational leadership, instructional leaders are involved with improving instruction, not just supporting the conditions for teaching and learning.  They do this by developing the culture, structures and conditions to facilitate professional dialogue, collaboration and knowledge exchange.  They use evidence to make instructional decisions for their school. 

Principals have numerous responsibilities within a school, and as a highly effective instructional leader they understand the need to distribute leadership to ensure sustainability.  They are knowledgeable about curriculum and instruction and promote teacher reflection about instruction and its effect on student achievement (Cotton, 2003).

We tie the most recent research on instructional leadership directly to the Practices in the Australian Professional Standard for Principals, the characteristics of highly effective principals outlined in the Principal Performance Improvement Tool, the driving principles of the Western Australian Public School Leadership Strategy 2018-2021, and the Focus 2019 policy that demands strong and empowering leadership in every school and across the whole system, all with an emphasis on leading change and nurturing collective efficacy.

The program then takes instructional leadership to the next level – learning leadership. This is leadership for and of learning – teachers, students and school leaders themselves, and viewed through the Requirements and Emphasis lenses of the Standard.

Topics of study and engagement include:

  • strengths-based leadership and leadership for team learning
  • leading from your personal why
  • mindsets and mind frames.

Five Module Program

Module 1 – Defining and Delving into Instructional Leadership
Module 2 – Learning Leadership: Starting with Why and Developing Collective Efficacy
Module 3 – Leading Organizational and Personal Change
Module 4 – Reflective Practice and Leading with Your Strengths
Module 5 – Improvement and Innovation for Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century

Learning outcomes

By the end of this program, participants will have had the opportunity to:

  • use the Profiles and other instruments to self-assess their personal strengths and attributes as instructional leaders and develop action plans for themselves and their schools
  • self-assess their school’s level of collective efficacy and where to capitalise on school strengths and lead improvement and change
  • benchmark their school to the McKinsey performance trajectory and develop a strategic plan for improvement and innovation
  • develop action steps to lead teachers in action research and disciplined inquiry focused on improving teaching and student learning.

Cotton, K. (2003). Principals and student achievement: What the research says. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Target audience

Principals, deputy principals and middle leaders.

About the facilitators

Dr Geoffrey E Mills, Emeritus Professor of Education, Southern Oregon University

Perth-born Dr Geoffrey Mills moved to the USA in 1986 to undertake doctoral studies at the University of Oregon. After completing his PhD in 1988, he accepted his first teaching position at Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University). After 12 years of teaching, Geoff became the university’s Dean of the School of Education for 12 years. 

Dr Mills has travelled extensively and given invited action research presentations in Australia, New Zealand, Greenland, United Kingdom, Canada, and many states across the USA. He is an internationally renowned researcher and author and owner of Geoff Mills Consulting.

James Eck, M.A., Founder, InnovatED Leadership

James Eck is an independent consultant and coach, founder and owner of InnovatEd Leadership and Principal with Learning Currents International, LLC. He specialises in educational leadership and a high-reliability systems approach to educational improvement and innovation.

He is a long time educator, having been a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and interim superintendent in various districts in Colorado for more than 20 years. Following that, James worked for the Colorado Department of Education as assessment coordinator for the Colorado Reading First Initiative.

Dr Andrew Kerr, M.A., Founding Principal, Learning Currents International, LLC

Dr Andrew Kerr is an international education and leadership consultant whose clients include district, state and national school systems, international schools, corporations and not-for-profit organisations. His background includes 20-plus years of education and leadership throughout North America, the Pacific islands and Asia. Andrew’s specialty areas include global education, curriculum and instruction, leadership development, family and community engagement and technology planning and implementation.

Andrew has worked extensively in rural and underserved communities presenting research-based best practices in culturally appropriate contexts. He holds a doctorate degree from Creighton University and is the Founding Principal of Learning Currents International, LLC. 

Alignment to professional standards 

Australian Professional Standard for Principals:‚Äč

  • Leading Teaching and Learning
  • Developing Self and Others
  • Leading Improvement, Innovation and Change


    Five day program


    No current intakes


    Instructional Leadership with
    Dr Geoffrey E Mills

    Download video transcript

    Instructional Leadership with
    Hayley Taylor, Principal,
    Cunderdin District High School

    Download video transcript



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There are no current intakes for this program.




Leadership Institute
Building B
164-194 Oxford Street, Leederville

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On the day 

  • Programs start at 8.30am. (Institute doors open at 8.00am.)
  • Business dress is required.
  • Morning tea and lunch are provided.


The Leadership Institute is located in Building B at 164-194 Oxford Street, Leederville. We co-locate with the School of Isolated and Distance Education (SIDE).


Please note the Institute does not have on-site parking available:

  • The City of Vincent has a number of car parks throughout Leederville.
  • The closest long term paid parking is available on the south side of The Avenue Car Park on Leederville Parade.
  • Short term paid parking (two hour) is available in adjacent streets.
  • The City of Vincent offers a 'pay by phone' parking service.
  • The Institute is a two minute walk from Leederville train station.
  • Taxis service the site promptly.
  • Cycle racks are located outside Building F at the Institute.

Download the Institute map and parking information.

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How to register

  • Register for Instructional Leadership: Learning Leadership for School Improvement and Innovation on PLIS.
  • Complete your details and payment.

Further information

Please contact the Leadership Institute on 1300 610 801 or email 


Instructional Leadership: Learning Leadership for School Improvement and Innovation

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