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Diversity In Leadership Alliance

Building a community of culturally competent and diverse leaders in Early Childhood Education

The Diversity in Leadership Alliance (DLA) started out as a working group of the Early Childhood Leadership and Policy Network (ECLPN).  The ECLPN is collaboration between higher education faculty whose vision is to create a network of early childhood leaders that work together to facilitate leadership development and affect policies and practices that promote culturally responsive early childhood programs for all children.  The ECLPN works to promote informed, effective diverse leadership that is representative of the children and families served by the early childhood system.  The ECLPN intentionally connects policy and leadership in order to create the maximum potential for early childhood policies that are informed by both research and the expertise of professionals.  The Diversity in Leadership Alliance focuses on increasing the strength, capacity and knowledge of a diverse, multilevel group of professionals that can shape early childhood policies and practices to be more inclusive and culturally responsive.   


The Diversity in Leadership Alliance (DLA), educates and advocates by providing opportunities for honest dialogue about personal and organizational bias and institutionalized racism and privilege at all tables that impact the early childhood community. DLA will be inclusive of cultures of people and provide opportunities to respect and practice values, rituals and lifestyles without barriers of gear of oppression or judgment.

Overall goals of DLA are:

  • To facilitate and support the leadership development of a diverse group of early childhood professionals
  • To equip experienced and emerging leaders to develop policies and implement practices that promote high quality early childhood education for all children.

Three beliefs clarify DLA’s approach to achieving these goals:

  1. The current disproportion between the culture and ethnicity of traditional leadership in the field and that of the children we serve has limited the representation of the strengths and needs of children of color.  Leaders and advocates are needed who more closely reflect the cultural, racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity of the children and families served by the early care and education system.  Leaders and advocates are needed who have a deep understanding of all children and families and the influence of social and economic forces on families. While some of that leadership can come from empathetic, sensitive individuals from other cultures, there is a need for adults who actually share the culture of the children who can most authentically affirm children’s experiences and understand them in their home context.
  2. A leader is intentionally an agent of change and transformation.  This means that leadership can happen in a variety of contexts and that individuals may or may not hold a typically recognized position of leadership. Each participant’s engagement in the Institute process will reflect how they see themselves in relationship to leadership, how they assess their current skills and knowledge and what in their early childhood environment may need to be changed.
  3. Preparing and supporting ECE professionals to be transformational leaders’ means equipping them to:
  • create a vision for children, families and the profession;
  • influence and inspire others,
  • mentor new leaders; and,
  • solve complex problems

Diversity In Leadership Institute – visit our blog at

Join the Diversity in Leadership Alliance

Complete the Membership Application to join the Diversity in Leadership Alliance.

If you would like to pay your membership by credit card.  Please download the Credit Card Authorization Form and fax it to (336) 245-4900 with your application.

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