Leaders in Education Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Racial justice (LEADER) ready for transformational change.

Launched in 2021, the LEADER (Leaders in Education Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Racial justice) Initiative funds community-driven efforts to increase and sustain diversity in Washington’s educator workforce. With $13.8 million invested over eight years, the project supports community representation in teaching and systems changes in schools and districts needed to sustain these educators and leaders. To prepare the way for the next generation of teachers and leaders currently in school, the initiative places a special focus on high school teachers and just and equitable educator preparation programs.

Responsible to racial justice and each other, we’ll lift up educators alongside students.

Between 2021-2030, the LEADER initiative is coordinating and connecting regional coalitions focused on transforming educational policies, practices, and institutional cultures. This series of planning and implementation grants allows people to gather and leverage ideas and work in progress. From this planning, grantees will develop a workforce strategic plan using LEADER goals and approaches.


Racial, ethnic, and linguistic community representation across the education workforce.


A diverse community represented in the education workforce.


Changes in policy, practice and institutional culture to amplify racial justice and bring to life an education system that reflects the wisdom and priorities of educators who reflect their community.

Five connected approaches to guide this work:

Champion community-driven change

to ensure the work reflects and is guided by the voices and needs of communities in Washington.

Focus on systems change

with an understanding that educational systems that support students of color benefit all learners.

Prioritize racial justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion

throughout the initiative.

Collaborate to bring people, resources, and ideas together

across government, local communities, and the private and philanthropic sectors.

Build on the talents and strengths of a diverse education workforce

to improve relationships with and experiences of students, families, and educators, especially within communities of color.

Allison Shelley for EDUimages

Initiative timeframe

In 2021, LEADER launched and accepted applications for regional coalition leaders. Regional coalitions consist of Regional Leads (the primary grant applicant with financial responsibility), Lead Collaborators, and partner groups. Each LEADER grantee leads a regional coalition of Educational Service Districts (ESDs), school districts, educator preparation programs, community groups and federally recognized or non-federally recognized tribes to assess regional needs and assets to design and implement a plan to meet the grant goals. The Professional Educator Standards Board administered the review process.

Planning Grants 2022-2024
The two-year planning grants provide 10 regional coalitions with $150,000 to map community assets, analyze local needs and opportunities, and develop a workforce strategic plan. Even if not awarded an implementation grant, all planning grantees will remain part of the LEADER initiative through 2030 to spend their remaining funds and attend statewide learning community meetings.

Implementation Grants 2024-2030
Following the planning grant, all regional coalitions will have the opportunity to apply for grant funding to implement their workforce strategic plans. Grantees will share the outcomes of their strategic plans with the larger LEADER community. Award decisions will vary by region based on their priorities, needs, and opportunities. The application process for implementation grants will be shared with grantees before the end of the planning grant.

Planning Grants; regional conveners and their collaboration leads work together with their communities to develop a plan to advance LEADER goals through LEADER approaches.

Implementation Grants; College Spark Washington grant funding available to LEADER regions to support strategies developed during the planning phase.

Ready for more info or want to get involved?

Find out how you can Get Involved, explore our virtual Events, or sign up below for news updates about the LEADER initiative.