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The Bridge Project

July 2023 through July 2025

A statewide initiative designed to increase principal workforce diversity in Illinois

In Illinois, there are four principal-endorsed educators for each principal opening, yet many talented educators of color and women still do not become principals.

WestEd, in collaboration with the Illinois Regional Office of Education (ROE) Leadership Hubs, launched the Bridge Project, a critical Illinois investment in diversifying the state’s principal workforce in urban, rural, and suburban settings that will support the career growth of aspiring principals of color and aspiring female principals.

In summer 2024, the partners are expanding our offerings and recruiting for the Bridge District Learning Network.

Why Participate?

Superintendents and their leadership teams play a powerful role in recruiting, developing and retaining the principals in their districts. By participating in the Bridge District Learning Network, superintendents and key team members will improve policies, programs and practices to:

  • attract, support, and retain the next generation of women principals and principals of color
  • network with other central office teams to grow and retain excellent school principals
Program Structure

As part of the Bridge District Learning Network, participating superintendents and their teams will take a self-assessment allowing them to reflect on their internal practices that impact principal hiring, principal retention, and principal effectiveness. Districts will be matched with experienced leadership coaches who are former district administrators. They will lead them through monthly coaching and bi-monthly professional development, tailored to address the practices uncovered through their self-assessment.

To Learn More
The Bridge Project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education under the federal Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program.
Why join?

Participants in this two-year program will

  • gain robust mentorship and career development opportunities alongside peers, including monthly leadership coaching from experienced administrators in Illinois;
  • access a statewide learning network focused on content development;
  • benefit from new principal mentoring after transitioning into principal positions; and
  • receive a $5,000 stipend for full participation.
Who can participate?

Participants should be in their role for at least a year and meet the following criteria:

  • have an interest in becoming a principal in Illinois
  • identify as a person of color and/or a woman
  • hold an administrative position (assistant principal, dean, instructional coach, etc.)
  • have a principal endorsement
When does the program take place?

The program will run from July 2023 through July 2025.

How to join

If you are interested in learning more about the Bridge Project, complete the interest form by March 22.

In collaboration with