99% of principals and assistant principals say their job has become increasingly complex.
91% feel additional professional development and training opportunities would be helpful in their role.


81% of principals and assistant principals feel that executive training would be useful

Thank you for showing interest in the McKinsey Management Program for School Leaders. This online program has now ended; however, there are still many opportunities offered through NASSP that can help you throughout your professional journey. One of these programs includes Building Ranks™, an actionable leadership framework that defines the “what” and “why” of effective school leadership by focusing on two domains: Building Culture and Leading Learning. This framework helps school leaders develop supportive learning environments that ensure the success and well-being of each student and adult in their school communities.

To learn more about Building Ranks™ and to see if you can benefit from this program, click here.


Recent surveys conducted by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) indicate a critical need for better, more relevant professional learning opportunities that meet the changing needs of today’s school leaders.

Created for and by principals and leadership experts, the McKinsey Management Program for School Leaders is designed to address the specific needs of educational leadership training.

This leading-edge, online program offers breakthrough content covering the most important aspects of organizational leadership. Using a dynamic online platform, research-based pedagogy, and online participant collaboration, school leaders walk away with the real-world solutions they need to transform their schools. (See EdWeek’s coverage of this innovative program.)

Each five-to-eight-week course in the program utilizes best-in-class techniques to develop specific management capabilities and provides the tools, activities and real-life examples to enrich school administrators’ leadership skills.

School leaders who complete the full McKinsey Management Program for School Leaders will receive the official NASSP Endorsement in Executive Leadership certificate and digital badge. Use the badge in your email signature to showcase your expertise!

This program combines McKinsey’s leadership expertise with NASSP’s knowledge of school leaders’ unique needs and demands.

Click the image below to view a research report addressing the changing the role of the school leader.

I got completely invested in it, and it was one of the most powerful trainings I have ever done. I highly recommend the course to principals who are interested in fresh perspectives and suggestions from industry and educational leaders. In the fast-paced world of education, we don’t often have time for reflection, but I received actionable suggestions that have proven very effective in terms of having difficult conversations and setting goals.

– Marilyn Boerke, Principal, Liberty Middle School, Camas, WA

Communicating for Impact

Principals engage with diverse stakeholders to create collaborative and productive relationships for the benefit of the students and the school. Advocating for polices, interacting with families, and providing constructive feedback to teachers require different messaging. Eighty-nine percent of principals surveyed requested training on communication for impact.

Learn to move students, parents, faculty, and staff members to action by carefully structuring arguments, tailoring those arguments to address audience needs, crafting inspiring prose, and delivering your message with personal presence and style.

Introduction (1 week)

Learn that the purpose of communication is to move people to action.

Structure (2 weeks)

Construct logical, convincing arguments using the Pyramid Principle, storylines, and storyboards.

Strategy (1 week)

Learn to choose words and imagery to tailor your argument and speak to the priorities of your audience.

Style (2 weeks)

Explore techniques to help you deliver communications with personal presence and style.

Wrap-up (1 week)

Assess your ability to communicate for impact.


Takeaway tools and templates

Participants use tools and templates (e.g., the Pyramid Principle and stakeholder analysis) to develop compelling communications in their schools and districts.

Group work—build a pyramid

Participants construct a pyramid-style argument; McKinsey teaching assistants review and provide individual feedback.

Lessons learned from educators

Award-winning educators share their experiences and tips for effectively communicating with students, parents, faculty, and staff members.

Historical examples

Participants analyze the speeches of master communicators (e.g., JFK’s “Man on the Moon”) to identify and articulate successful techniques and consider ways to apply these practices to their own work.

I found that the format and organization of the courses allowed for a great deal of flexibility on my time. I could participate and learn from others when my schedule was open. The examples stretched my perspective and challenged me to think differently. The program allows you to connect and collaborate with school leaders around the world—listening to different perspectives on leadership from outside my part of the country expanded my thinking.

– Daniel Kelley, Principal, Smithfield High School, Smithfield, RI

Team Management

Team management is critical to a school’s success. School and district leaders recognize this need, with team management among their most requested areas of training. In this course, learn day-to-day management techniques that build alignment and engagement, and develop feedback and coaching capabilities to unlock your team’s potential.

Introduction (1 week)

Explore the dimensions of effective teams—alignment, execution, and renewal.

Day-to-day team management (1 week)

Develop tactical skills to build team alignment and support execution.

Feedback and coaching (2 weeks)

Observe and critique examples of feedback and coaching conversations to identify effective behaviors.

Team dynamics (1 week)

Hear from experts about interventions to improve team dynamics and ways to build and sustain trust.

Wrap-up (1 week)

Check your mastery of the course material.


Real-life examples

Hear stories from senior and mid-level managers in various organizations as well as experienced school leaders from across the country.

Group work—plan a coaching conversation

Participants use the GROW model to prepare for upcoming coaching conversations, practice in their groups, and receive feedback from other group members.

Feedback and coaching practice

Apply effective feedback and coaching techniques to build distinctive performance in your staff. Tackle performance evaluation conversations and post-meeting debriefs.

Team dynamics assessment

Participants reflect on dynamics of their own team, hear global experts and experienced educators describe common problems faced by teams, and build an action plan to enhance their school teams’ effectiveness.

80% Nearly 80 percent of district leaders believe that mastering difficult conversations is one of the most challenging aspects of a school leader’s job and 94 percent of district leaders feel that it would be valuable for their school leaders to receive professional development in this area

Mastering Challenging Conversations

Learn to effectively manage challenging conversations in both internal and external situations to achieve better outcomes.

Introduction (1 week)

Learn what makes conversations challenging and explore how to prepare for and conduct challenging conversations.

Challenging conversation skills (3 weeks)

Use observation, expert guidance, and simulated conversations to practice preparing for and conducting challenging conversations.

Wrap up (1 week)

Learn how to apply this approach in various contexts and check your mastery of the course material.


Scenario-based learning

Compelling, realistic videos challenge participants to analyze where difficult conversations go wrong and what to do instead.

Group work—prepare for your conversation

Participants use the three-part approach to prepare for an upcoming challenging conversation and discuss their plans in small groups.

Lessons learned from educators

Award-winning educators share stories and describe how they deal with difficult conversations with students, parents, faculty, and staff members.

Learning through stories

Through a rich set of stories, participants learn by example and gather a set of experiences to apply on the job in schools and districts.

MMPSL Fellows

Team Management


Darlene Geddes
Assistant Principal, McMinnville High School
McMinnville, OR

Renita Griffin-Jordan
Assistant Principal, City of Medicine Academy
Durham, NC

Justin Zajic
Principal, Mitchell Middle School
Mitchell, SD

Mastering Challenging Conversations


Sanee Bell
Principal, Morton Ranch Junior High
Katy, TX

William Black
Principal, Martin Middle School
East Providence, RI

Katie Dantrassy
Assistant Principal, John Marshall High School
Glen Dale, WV

Brenda McNeal
Assistant Principal, Aztec High School
Aztec, NM

Robert Messia
Principal, Algonquin Middle School
Averill Park, NY

Communicating for Impact


Mary Pat Cumming
Principal, The FAIR School
Minneapolis, MN

Eric Fox
Associate Principal, Jenks High School
Jenks, OK

Christopher Gegaris
Chief of District Operations, Crestwood School District
Mountain Top, PA

Haley Holley
Assistant Principal, Ouachita Parish High School
Monroe, LA

James Johnston
Principal, Woodland Middle School
Woodland, WA

Demetrius Lucas
Assistant Principal, Plummer Elementary School
Washington, DC

Aurelia Ortiz
Principal, Falling Creek Middle School
North Chesterfield, VA