Leadership Academy (LACE™)

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Since 1998, the Leadership Academy in Character Education (LACE™) has helped over 500 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.

LACE™ is a complex and comprehensive year-long professional development experience for school leaders.  Its ten elements include:

  1. a LACE™ Starter Library in character education,
  2. peer networking,
  3. attendance at a regional character education conference,
  4. a series of monthly full day workshops led by nationally and internationally-recognized experts.
  5. a curriculum of monthly written collaborative reflections with expert constructive feedback,
  6. development of a site-specific character education plan,
  7. collaborative site-based planning,
  8. site visits to national award winning schools and presentations by award winning principals,
  9. an option for up to 6 graduate credits for LACE™ participation, and;
  10. eligibility for Advanced Certification by CharacterPlus.

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 2014, 42 schools and districts in the St. Louis region led by LACE™ graduates have earned recognition as National Schools/Districts of Character.  That represents almost 25% of all schools and districts so recognized in the entire country. 

LACE™ begins in January each year. Click here for an online application.

  • Applications will not be complete until we receive the letter of support.  It can be mailed (Center for Character and Citizenship, 402 Marillac Hall, UMSL, One University Blvd., St. Louis MO 63121-4400) or faxed (314-516-7356) to us.
  • 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 2019 LACE™ schedule, subject to changes:

June 24, 2019

Day 1 - Kickoff

June 25, 2019

Day 2 - Kickoff

August 29, 2019

September 19, 2019

October 29, 2019

November 21, 2019   

December 10, 2019    

January 16, 2020            

February 11, 2020        

March 10, 2020    

April 16, 2020


May 15, 2020
GLEN ECHO COUNTRY CLUB, 3401 Lucas and Hunt Rd., 63121


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


Key Partners

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©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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