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IEA-NEA ESP Emerging Leaders Academy

The Illinois Education Association is partnering with the National Education Association to provide an IEA-NEA ESP Emerging Leaders Academy (ESP-ELA) based on the highly successful NEA Leaders for Tomorrow’s program (LFT).  The ESP-ELA was develop to provide support and leadership training for IEA’s emerging ESP leaders.   Many of IEA’s ESP leaders have attended the LFT program which has been instrumental in helping IEA’s ESP members acquire skills and the confidence needed to lead at the local level. Many program graduates have even stepped into state or national leadership positions. This strength and success has seeded a desire to expand its positive impact.


What is IEA-NEA ESP Emerging Leaders Academy (ESP-ELA)?
The ESP-ELA is a four-session training process held over a seven month period that is open to all dues paying IEA ESP members who meet the program’s eligibility requirements.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a current IEA-NEA member
  • Must have been an IEA-NEA member in good standing for at least one year
  • Must believe in the importance of collective action and the right of employees to organize and participate in unions
  • Must commit to participate in all three training modules as well as the “boots on the ground” organizing project
  • Must commit to utilize skills learned at your local association
  • Must be open to new experiences and willing to complete all assignments during and between sessions

Why an Emerging Leaders Academy?
IEA-NEA ESP Emerging Leaders Academy trains both current and future leaders in leadership attitudes, skills, and knowledge that will enhance their ability to be a visible, vocal advocates at the local, state, and national levels.

What will I learn and what kind of time commitment and resources does IEA-NEA ESP Emerging Leaders Academy require?
The program is broken into four modules which includes a “Boots on the Ground” organizing project. 

MODULE 1:    Leadership Development
Denver, Colorado
March 11- 17, 2019 (6 ½ days)
Training includes attendance at the NEA National Leadership Summit.

MODULE 2:   Organizing and Mentoring ESP’s
Normal, Illinois
July 2019 (4 days)
IEA Summer Leadership Academy

MODULE 3:   Boots on the Ground Organizing Project
Location TBD in Illinois
September 2019 (2-3 days)

MODULE 4:   Politics and Governance
Oak Brook, Illinois
October 2019 (2 days)
One Conference


All participants are fully funded for the following expenses:  Airfare, lodging in Denver, Colorado, at the Summer Leadership Academy and at the organizing project location. Breakfast and lunch, some dinners, substitute pay or salary reimbursement, and attendance to the NEA Leadership Summit are also fully funded.

Accepted candidates are expected to work with their Region chair and Local leaders to fund uncovered expenses such as lodging at the one conference (if needed), dinners and transportation to and from the airport.

What happens if I cannot attend all four sessions?
We understand that personal and professional emergencies can arise, however, it is expected that selected candidates will attend all sessions completely except in cases of an emergency. If an emergency arises, IEA-NEA ESP Emerging Leaders Academy participants commit to notifying the ESP-ELA program as soon as possible.