My favorite aspect of leading at DP is the professional development and coaching that I receive on a consistent basis. I am continually growing as I am developing my teachers and staff.

Danielle Alicastro, Leader U Alum

Leader U Residency

In the first year of the Leader U program, Residents focus on becoming highly effective instructional coaches in addition to taking on a variety of leadership responsibilites within their school of Residency. Residents also maintain a modified teaching schedule as they build capacity in their instructional leadership as a model teacher. The Residency program also includes:

Leader U Fellowship

The Leader U Fellowship is for emerging leaders who have successfully completed Year 1 of the LU Residency or initial applicants with extensive leadership and/or coaching experience. The Fellowship is an immersive school-based leadership placement, with programming and coaching tailored to each individual’s development needs. While no two fellowships are alike and are largely influenced by school placement and region, Fellows develop themselves and their leadership skills through common supports including:

Summer Institute

Residents participate in a weeklong summer institute in which they learn and practice the foundations of teacher coaching, initiative development, and leading teams. Residents dive into both the theoretical and the practical by reading and discussing literature by leadership experts, while balancing that with practical application to their everyday role as a Resident.

Summer Institute

Fellows participate in a two-week intensive summer training program where they learn from a diverse group of network leaders. During summer training Fellows begin to establish their vision for excellence in a school community. Additionally, Fellows participate in extensive practice and application-based professional development sessions focusing on instruction, team leadership, one-on-one coaching, operations, school culture, community and family engagement, emotional intelligence, and leadership voice.

Leadership Coaching

Residents participate in weekly coaching meetings with an assigned leadership coach from the network Talent Development team focusing on their specific development plan. LU coaches work directly with Residents to support their execution of year-long initiatives.

Leadership Coaching

Fellows receive intensive, individualized coaching from an assigned leadership coach from the network Talent Development team. Fellows also meet with their coach weekly and personally drive their own development based on their individualized development plan and school-based initiatives.

Ongoing Professional Development

Throughout the year, Residents work with their cohort to develop skills and knowledge in all content areas, providing effective feedback, and best practices across leadership capacities.


Fellows are responsible for designing and executing four school-based initiatives to target the needs of their fellowship campus in the areas of: Academic Coaching, Leading Teams, Community and Family Engagement, and School Culture.

Associate Teacher Mentorship

Residents are paired with an Associate Teacher who they are responsible for coaching and developing throughout the Residency year. This relationship and experience is key to the development of the Leader U Resident. It provides Residents with the opportunity to practice strategies and frameworks for coaching that they were exposed to during Summer Institute — all in a feasible, one-on-one dynamic that is perfect for the Residents’ first year in Leader U. It is the building block for the rest of their coaching future.

Reflection and Analysis

Fellows reflect on key initiatives, systems, and events throughout the school year to analyze how effective leaders drive and motivate positive change through intentional planning, strategic choices, collaboration, and execution. Fellows also have the opportunity to shadow leaders outside of their placement campus to further develop their leadership voice and lens.


Residents are responsible for effectively planning and executing three initiatives throughout the school year. The three initiatives are focused on the following areas of leadership: Instructional Coaching of an Associate Teacher, Team Leadership, and an Operations or Culture-based initiative of their choice.

School visits

Fellows have the opportunity to visit a variety of high-performing schools both within the Democracy Prep network as well as a variety of traditional public, private, independent, and charter schools across the country. These visits are specifically designed to highlight an individual school’s superpowers and best practices to inspire a Fellow’s vision for their own school.