​The primary purpose of the Missouri Leadership Development System (MLDS) is the development and support of effective school leaders. Nearly 1,600 principals across Missouri are advancing their leadership learning through the Missouri Leadership Development System.(MLDS).

Co-authored by Mike Rutherford, MLDS training sessions are designed to provide continuous support for Missouri educational leaders progressing from Aspiring to Transformational.

The Heart of Missouri currently offers these professional learning cohorts:


  • In partnership with districts, MLDS provides the professional development for educators who aspire to be future building leaders.

Emerging I and Emerging II:

  • Consists of three regional meetings and two coaching labs. True system of support for newer educational leaders which includes high quality professional development and a paid mentor for the first two years.

Continuing(Years 3-5)

  • Consists of 3 regional meetings and 1 coaching lab. Designed to provide relevant, professional development alongside a professional learning community to support leaders with two + years of experience.

Leadership Academy (Year 3)

Consists of four regional meetings and two state meetings. This is the only year of MLDS content that has a charge. Total registration cost is $900 which includes the Outdoor Leadership Experience (OLE).

Leadership Academy is an intensive year of leadership development for building level leadership.  Emphasizes the importance of building capacity of instructional practices correlated to high academic achievement for students.


  • Consists of 3 regional meetings and 1 coaching lab. A more personal approach to professional development on topics vital to continuous school improvement.


  • Utilizes the foundational content pieces and the MLDS program content. The MLDS specialist can customize professional development for any district.

Training Options

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Gena McCluskey

Missouri Leadership Development Specialist mccluskeyg@missouri.edu

Kim Presko

Missouri Leadership Development Specialist preskok@missouri.edu

Lorie Rost

Missouri Leadership Development System Consultant rostl@missouri.edu