An Introduction to Principal 360: Chicago Edition

Principal 360: Chicago Edition—The Evolution

Chicagoland Lutheran School Principals Unite to Lead a RESET for Change

In April 2021, CLEF hosted a special retreat for the principals of our Chicagoland Lutheran schools to recognize them for their tireless efforts and faithful service, and to provide them with a meaningful time for reflection, revelation, and vision for a brighter future. Dr. Leslie Smith, educational consultant and former Head of School at Orange Lutheran High School in California, led a thought-provoking journey that explored the enduring purpose, relevance, and critical need for Lutheran education in today’s world.  “What would happen if Lutheran schools in Chicago ceased to exist tomorrow?” she asked.  “What is the current state of our young people? What does success look like for them?” and “What are we doing to ensure that our children not only survive, but thrive, even amidst life’s most significant challenges?”

Rather than focus on standards that promote “being the best,” the Chicagoland Lutheran Principals have partnered together with a collective vision to equip healthy, confident, caring leaders who will “give their best” to positively impact the world with the love of Christ. Unified by their faith and calling as Lutheran school principals, and deeply concerned about the health and well-being of this generation of learners, the Chicagoland Lutheran school principals emerged from their retreat inspired and committed to addressing the unique needs of their students.  

Impassioned to lead a change initiative that would RESET perceptions and priorities in education, the Chicagoland Lutheran principals worked with Dr. Smith to understand the impact of the pandemic and to craft a collective vision that would unify the schools and create healthier, more successful outcomes for our students.  They are focused on shifting from today’s school-centered, “doing school” model of education that promotes grades, test scores, and a fixed mindset, to a healthier learner-centered model that promotes learning, discovery, and a growth mindset. 

Principal 360: Chicago Edition was launched in June 2021 to support the Chicagoland Lutheran Educational Foundation’s (CLEF) efforts to equip principals with the leadership skills and resources needed to lead this RESET change initiative. This customized version of their newest leadership certification program is uniquely designed to ensure full circle success with every challenge and opportunity principals face in today’s dynamic educational landscape.

Culminating with the presentation of a unique school strategic plan as the capstone project, Principal 360 consists of five courses with 19 distinct modules led by acclaimed instructors from across the country.

In this year-long intensive program, principals are engaged in approximately 40 hours of in-person instruction, 26 hours of live synchronous online learning, and over 100 hours with an executive coach dedicated to personal leadership growth, the application of course content, and strategic planning.  Upon completion, principals will emerge better equipped to lead change, and they will be recognized and validated by CLEF as trained educational leaders skilled at crafting a comprehensive school strategic plan.

Chicagoland Lutheran principals stand in solidarity and proclaim the newly minted mission of Chicagoland Lutheran schools to educate the whole child in a safe and nurturing Christian community through innovative and engaging learning experiences that foster faith, character development, academic excellence, and social emotional literacy. 


Principal 360: Chicago Edition equips principals with the leadership skills and resources needed to lead this RESET change initiative.

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