Leadership Academy (LACE™/CEEL)

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Click here for an online application.

Since 1998, the Leadership Academy in Character Education (LACE™) has helped over 800 school leaders develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to create, implement and evaluate programs and processes that make their schools true learning communities in which character education is a vital part of the curriculum and culture.

NEW IMPROVEMENTS AND CHANGES (starting in June 2019): Thanks to the generous support of the Kern Family Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation, significant improvements and additions to LACE will start in 2019.
  • A new added emphasis on the virtues of servant leadership will be intergrated throughout the professional development and mentoring each LACE participant will receive.
  • LACE will now run from June to May rather than January to December as has been the practice in the recent past.
  • CEEL (Character Education for Emerging Leaders) will provide to aspiring principals (mainly assistant principals who aspire to become head principals) additional resources. The most signifcant one is 100 hours of on-site post-LACE mentoring by exemplary character education principals. Additional benefits will include a scholarship for the participant cost of LACE and up to 6 graduate credits.
Hence the 2019 and 2020 cohorts will likely include emerging leaders (assistant principals) who will receive the added CEEL benefits listed above and head principals who are not eligible for the grant funded benefits of the CEEL program, but who participate in LACE along with the CEEL supported APs.
LACE™ and CEEL are a complex and comprehensive year-long professional development experience for school leaders.  There core elements include:
  1. a LACE™ Starter Library in character education,
  2. peer networking,
  3. a series of monthly full day workshops led by nationally and internationally-recognized experts.
  4. a curriculum of monthly written collaborative reflections with expert constructive feedback,
  5. development of a site-specific character education plan,
  6. collaborative site-based planning,
  7. site visits to national award winning schools and presentations by award winning principals,
  8. an option for up to 6 graduate credits for LACE™ participation, and;

LACE™ has a demonstrable record of success. This can be seen, for example, in the number of leaders whose schools have won independent recognition for excellence in character education. Each year, Character.org (formerly CEP), based on a rigorous set of criteria, recognizes public and private schools and school districts in the United States as models of effective character education. As part of their National Schools of Character program, the first LACE™ was established in St. Louis in 1998 as a partnership of the Center for Character and Citizenship at UMSL and CharacterPlus. As of 2018, 82 schools and districts in the St. Louis region led by LACE™ graduates have earned recognition as National Schools/Districts of Character.  That represents almost 20% of all schools and districts so recognized in the entire country. 

LACE™/CEEL runs from June to May. Click here for an online application.

  • Applications will not be complete until we receive the letter of support requested in the application
  • Effective 2018, there is a $750.00 fee for each LACE™ participant to cover part of the estimated $4,000 cost of LACE™.  We cover the rest of the costs through grants and donations.

Below is the 2020-21 LACE™/CEEL schedule:

December 1, 2020 - Kick Off Day 1

December 15, 2020 - Kick Off Day 2

January 14, 2021

February 11, 2021

March 9, 2021

April 15, 2021

May 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

August 4, 2021

September 1, 2021

October 1, 2021

November 3, 2021 - Graduation Day

*All times are 8:00 am - 3:30 pm unless indicated above.


Key Partners

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  • character-plus
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The Center will unveil a new site shortly. Stay tuned..
©2014, The Center for Character and Citizenship,
201 Ward E Barnes Library, University of Missouri-St. Louis, One University Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63121-4400
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