The National Urban Special Education Leadership Initiative (NUSELI) is a federally-funded leadership personnel preparation project that has positively impacted students, families, and communities served within the 4th and 10th largest urban school districts in the nation. A critical need persists for highly skilled and knowledgeable high-level special education administrators who can effectively develop and sustain inclusive school settings designed to improve outcomes for all students.
Leadership is a key element in creating a school culture that is responsive to students from various backgrounds including gender, sexual orientation, age, religious, linguistic, ethnic, socioeconomic, and ability. The preparation of a cadre of diverse leaders that resembles the students they serve is of great significance to fostering safe, inclusive, and respectful learning environments. As schools become more diverse and standards become increasingly rigorous, school leaders must acquire the knowledge and skills needed to implement evidence-based inclusive practices designed to ensure all students are provided with the supports necessary to achieve. District and school leaders must have full access to the best available research and practical wisdom and to receive strong support in transforming that knowledge into high-quality performance and continuous improvement for themselves and for those they lead.