Missouri Leadership Development System

Missouri Leadership Development System





With approximately 2,200 principals and 1,300 assistant principals currently serving in Missouri schools, an estimated 1,100 administrator certificates issued annually and roughly 300 new principals hired each year, the implications for teacher and student success are significant.

“In developing effective school leaders, we can recognize the value of experience and let trial and error serve as the lead instructor, or we can be more intentional. Through the implementation of the Missouri Leadership Development System, we choose to cultivate improved leadership practice by engaging our principals in relevant and meaningful learning over the course of their entire career."

                                                             Dr. Margie Vandeven, Commissioner of Education
                                                  Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

​The primary purpose of the Missouri Leadership Development System (MLDS) is the development and support of effective school leaders.  In the fall 2014, a group of key stakeholders, currently engaged in principal development and support, were convened by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to identify the essential competencies of each of the steps on the MLDS continuum.  The MLDS Competencies are aligned to the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL).

Executive Summary


Teacher Recruitment and Retention a challenge? - Take a Look at This.

For more information, please connect with your RPDC Leadership Development Specialist.


Project Extended IMPACT

In the Fall of 2022, the Community Training and Assistant Center, working in collaboration with MLDS support personnel, received approval of a multi-year SEED (Supporting Effective Educator Development) grant from the United States Department of Education (USDOE).

In response to significant educational challenges following the COVID 19 pandemic and building on the established MLDS framework, PROJECT IMPACT is focused on elevating the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of building principals with an emphasis on the following four strands:

  • Academic Acceleration
  • Student Well-being
  • Teacher Recruitment and Retention
  • Principal Recruitment and Participation in the MLDS

While this subject matter is not necessarily new to education, the content developed for each of these threads supports a wealth of knowledge and understanding as principals work to respond to the demands of a post-pandemic educational landscape.

Click Here for More Resources – PROJECT IMPACT,


On-Demand Learning

Please click here: MoASSP or here: MAESP to access On-Demand Learning


MLDS Micro-credentials

Individuals interested in upgrading their administrator certificate may complete MLDS micro-credentials instead of completing an education specialist degree or higher. Those interested in utilizing the micro-credentials to upgrade from an initial administrator certificate to a transition administrator certificate will need to complete three (3) department-approved MLDS micro-credentials. Those interested in utilizing the micro-credentials to upgrade from an initial or transition administrator certificate to a career continuous administrator certificate will need to complete fifteen (15) department-approved MLDS micro-credentials. More information regarding upgrading your administrator certificate can be found here.

With a continuous need for excellent leaders in our schools, the MLDS micro-credentials offer principals an opportunity to demonstrate mastery of critical school leader skills. More information on the MLDS micro-credentials can be found at the websites of Missouri’s two principal associations, MAESP and MoASSP

Meet Melissa Armbruster, Principal at Stone Creek Elementary School in Wentzville Missouri. She is the first Missouri principal to upgrade to earn her career continuous administrator certificate administrator certificate by completing all fifteen (15) DESE approved MLDS micro-credentials. Hear what she has to say about completing the MLDS micro-credentials and how she feels they have contributed to improving her leadership practice.


Formative Reviews of the Missouri Leadership Development System


MLDS Unpacking the Domains


MLDS Competencies


MLDS Guides

Aspiring Level Video Library (click here)

         Understanding Effective Instruction   

         Getting Comfortable with Observations 

         Visiting Classrooms  

         Why Am I an Educator? 

         Who Do I Choose to Surround Me? 

         Seeing the Context by Shifting Perspectives & Who Am I?   

         The Process

         The Imponderable

        The Connection

        Finding Stability

        Embracing Abstraction

        Bridging the Gap

        Climate vs. Culture


Mentoring Support

Session 1 (Newly hired mentor) Introduction to Mentoring
Session 2 (First day of school) Mentoring 101
Session 3 (First Quarter) Listening & Problem Solving
Session 4 (Second Quarter) School Walk Around Protocols
Session 5 (Third Quarter) Mid-Year Check In, Discussion Topics, Capacity Mapping Protocol
Session 6 (Fourth Quarter) End of Year Assessment

MLDS Flyer

Those interested in participating in MLDS. Please contact the Leadership Development Specialist at your RPDC for additional program and registration information.

MLDS Staff

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, MLDS Commission and their collaborative partners would like to express their appreciation for the support provided by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in the development of this statewide leadership initiative.  For more information on CCSSO efforts in the area of educational leadership, click here.