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Learning to Lead

Learning to Lead

USM is one of five schools nation-wide participating in a pilot leadership program designed to empower students to become leaders who effect positive change.

University School of Milwaukee is one of five independent schools nation-wide invited to participate in a pilot cohort program hosted by the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute (gcLi). The program, titled The Leadership Academy, is a revolutionary leadership experience for schools, students, and educators.

Many USM faculty have attended professional development opportunities through gcLi, but this is the first opportunity available to students directly. The Leadership Academy is being led by Samantha Adey, Upper School history teacher and co-coordinator of USM’s Ethical Leadership program, and Dr. Heidi Kasevich, author and founder of Kase Leadership Method.

Students talk while participating in the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute.

Twelve Upper School students and four Upper School faculty are participating in the program, which includes eight hour-long group sessions where students engage in self-awareness activities, team challenges, and skill-building sessions designed to help expand their leadership capacity and problem-solving abilities. Students complete the program by developing a leadership action plan that addresses a challenge in their local and/or global communities.

Faculty members, meanwhile, observe the students in action and engage in 60-minute activities with their educator cohort about student engagement and behavior; facilitation techniques; and research-based practices. They also receive individual coaching for help responding to real-time situations to promote effective student leadership at their school.

"The gcLi Leadership Lab has been providing outstanding professional development for USM faculty on how to effectively teach leadership to students," said Adey. "Now for the first time, our students were able to get a similar experience during the fall semester. Hopefully they can use some of the skills they have learned to create positive change in our own USM community."

In addition to The Leadership Academy, USM’s Ethical Leadership program adds intentionality, shape, and focus to the important work of creating leaders. Co-coordinated by Adey and Emily Ihrke, Upper School English teacher, the Ethical Leadership program seeks to develop essential capacities—including self-awareness, self-regulation, perseverance, communication skills, and more—needed by ethical leaders.

  • On Campus
Students talk while participating in the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute.

Marko Gajic '23 (left) and Ellie Lin '23 participated in a Leadership Academy workshop held last August, prior to the start of school.

Dr. Heidi Kasevich speaks to students during the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute.

Dr. Heidi Kasevich co-led the workshop, which was the inaugural Leadership Academy event.