← Back to Conferences/Professional Learning

2019 Leading for Learning Program for Experienced School Leaders

General Information

The 13th annual Leading for Learning short course for Alberta school administrators, sponsored by the College of Alberta School Superintendents, will be offered at Olds College beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2, 2019 and ending at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 4. The registration fee is $899.99 (includes GST) or $599.99 (includes GST) if accommodation is not required . Registration is limited to 30 participants. Over the past twelve years approximately 380 experienced school administrators have participated in the Leading for Learning short course.

Leading for Learning 2019 will be co-coordinated by CASS Directors of Leadership Learning —Dr. Del Litke and Elizabeth Gouthro. This will be Del’s 5th year serving as a coordinator of Leading for Learning. This will be Liz’s 4th year with the program. Her biography is included later in the program.

The feedback from the Leading for Learning participants has been very positive each yearIn fact, in each of the twelve years Leading for Learning has been offered, a significant majority (in most years 100%) of participants rated the learning experience as very good or excellent, and indicated they would recommend the program to their colleagues in school administration.  Participants have expressed appreciation regarding the emphasis on facilitating group discussions and sharing best practices. They also have welcomed the opportunity to network with fellow administrators from school jurisdictions across Alberta. (Out-of-province participants are most welcome!) Many of the previous Leading for Learning participants commented on the value of having school leadership teams attend the short course.

Leading for Learning targets four groups extremely well:

  • Administrators who took Start Right previously and want to take the next learning leadership step.
  • New administrative teams – building relationships around the right leadership!
  • Administrators who need support with instructional leadership and leading learning.
  • Experienced administrators who are learners.

Some of the same presenters will be here (e.g. Del Litke, Kurt Sacher, and Scott Morrison) but ALL the 2019 Leading for Learning sessions are significantly different than previous Start Right sessions that participants may have attended. (see session descriptions that follow).

As noted, previous participants have spoken glowingly about their Leading for Learning experience. Representative comments from the evaluation forms over the years include the following:

  • This was an outstanding PD opportunity! Best I’ve had—EVER!
  • Sessions offered information on a variety of areas with regard to administration. Never felt like the sessions were repetitive. Such an amazing opportunity and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to any of my colleagues.
  • Very organized and seemingly effortless—but I know it is a tremendous amount of work.
  • Super organized; professional but with an excellent balance of “serious” and “fun”. Great hosts—knowledgeable and approachable..
  • Actually should be mandatory for Principals and Vice-Principals.
  • Compiled amazing speakers. So grateful to have the opportunity to learn from all of them.
  • Truly one of the best conferences I’ve attended. No improvements are necessary. Keep up the fantastic work that you do!

Participants will be accommodated in private rooms at Centennial Village, meals will be provided through campus food services, and all sessions will be held on the beautiful Olds College campus.  The short course is designed to bring participants together as a leadership learning community with a focus on providing opportunities for:

  • Gaining new ideas and resources through engaging presentations and interactive learning sessions facilitated by educational leaders with a wealth of school and school system experience;
  • Meaningfully addressing issues and challenges encountered by school leaders and developing practical strategies for action;
  • Networking with colleagues from other school jurisdictions;
  • Establishing through group activities a forum for building relationships, learning with and from each other, and an opportunity to offer support and assistance as an extension of the workshop learning experience;
  • Extending the learning experience through university graduate coursework if desired;
  • Further developing a personal understanding and vision for successful school leadership, and
  • Providing further support by regular email and articles throughout the subsequent school year. The following comment is one participant’s response to our emails:

“Thank you for your email and the ‘face for radio’ advice! The December priorities are priorities I have known in the past, but the reminder from a seasoned vet was well needed. Thank you for your ongoing support of our leadership. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a PD opportunity last as long or be as valuable.”

Arrangements can be made through Alberta universities to extend the Leading for Learning experience for graduate level course credit.  Participants will be required to pay a tuition fee to the university and to meet additional course requirements. Information regarding university credit is available at the University Graduate Coursework tab. Individuals who are interested in receiving more information regarding university course credit may also contact Dr. Del Litke at 780-292-3315 or by e-mail (del.litke@cass.ab.ca).

Note: If you require more information or have any questions, please contact: Dr. Del Litke @ 780-293-3315 del.litke@cass.ab.ca

Program Information

Leading for Learning 2019 is organized as follows:

Tuesday, July 2: Student Alumni Center

Please note: Arrangements have been made with Centennial Village for participants to check-in to their accommodations starting at 1:00.

12:00 – 3:00 p.m.   Registration at Student Alumni Center

3:00 p.m.                 Welcoming remarks & overview of the program (Del Litke)

3:15 – 5:30 p.m. Developing and Fostering a Braided Approach to Indigenous Education:  Moving beyond beads, bannock, feathers and books

During these sessions, you will learn and experience some of the latest professional development resources and workshops to support aspiring leaders and leaders with the Indigenous-focused competencies and indicators in the Leadership Quality Standard.  These sessions address and support:

Competency 1:  Fostering Effective Relationships, e) establishing relationships with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit parents/guardians, Elders/Knowledge Keepers, local leaders and community members

Competency 5:  Supporting the Application of Foundational Knowledge about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit for the benefit of all students, Achievement of this competency is demonstrated by indicators such as:

(a) understanding the historical, social, economic, and political implications of treaties and agreements with First Nations;
(b) aligning resources and building the capacity of the school community to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit student achievement;
(c) enabling all school staff and students to gain a knowledge and understanding of, and respect for, the histories, cultures, languages, contributions, perspectives, experiences and contemporary contexts of First Nations, Métis and Inuit; and
(d) pursuing opportunities and engaging in practices to facilitate reconciliation within the school community.

Section 1: Indigenous Education Resources:  Where do I start?
This session will support educators in using resources that accurately reflect and demonstrate the strength and diversity of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.  You will learn about culturally responsive resources to increase your capacity in foundational knowledge about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.  In addition, you will leave with tools to critically review First Nations, Métis, and Inuit resources for classroom and professional use. 

Section 2: Our Shared History, Our Shared Future:  A Brief Introduction to Treaties
This introductory workshop will explore historical and contemporary information and resources relating to numbered treaties within Alberta. Educators will build their understanding of the acknowledgment of land and people, as well as our shared responsibilities to the land and each other.   Participants will engage in dialogue and reflect on their professional learning in order to build capacity in treaty education.

All of the resources and workshops were created in collaboration with local Elders, Knowledge Keepers and Cultural Advisors within Alberta. You will leave with lots of information to support your learning journey, as well as supporting others, as we move from inspiring to requiring in Indigenous education!

Note: This session is a combined session with the Start Right 2019 short course participants.

Melissa Purcell is Denesuline and a member of Smith’s Landing First Nation in Treaty 8 territory. She is an Executive Staff Officer, Professional Development, Indigenous Education with the Alberta Teachers’ Association and is the team lead for the Walking Together: Education for Reconciliation project. Purcell has experience teaching in Alberta band, charter and public schools. At the district level with Edmonton Public Schools she held the positions of teacher consultant, program coordinator and supervisor of First Nations, Métis and Inuit education.

A graduate of Concordia University of Edmonton, Purcell has demonstrated commitment to supporting and building the capacity of her fellow teachers in the areas of First Nations, Métis and Inuit language, culture and education. In addition to her valuable learned and lived experiences, Purcell in passionate in collaborating with education partners to develop culturally responsible resources and practices.

Shannon Loutitt is Métis from Treaty 8 Territory-born in Grande Prairie and raised in Fort McMurray.  She is a former Walking Together Program Consultant with the Alberta Teachers’ Association and has experience teaching in public, Catholic, and band-operated schools.  Shannon graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Education (Hons.) and continues to further her education through Masters coursework and, most importantly, relationships with Elders and Knowledge Keepers.

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.     Dinner (traditional feast) at the cafeteria
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.     Continuation of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education for all Students
8:00 – 8:15 p.m.     Session evaluation and journal reflections
8:15 – 10:30 p.m.   Get-Acquainted Activity; Alcohol-free social hosted by CASS

Wednesday, July 3: Bell e-Learning Center

8:30 – 11:30 a.m.           Providing Quality School Leadership: Dr. Konni deGoeij, Alberta Teachers’ Association

Dealing with Difficult People and Difficult Issues

Description: Hostile conversations with adults in school settings are becoming more commonplace and more intense and are deemed to be extremely stressful for educators. What can schools do to safeguard the school and effectively communicate with those individuals who have a propensity toward volatility? This presentation gives an overview of the rights and responsibilities of students, parents, teachers and school principals with an emphasis on the knowledge and skills for effective conflict management and conflict resolution so that there can exist in most conflicts a creative solution that can meet the interests of all involved.

Dr. Konsctancija (Konni) deGoeij has worked as schoolteacher, school based administrator, teacher educator, researcher, and policy advisor in Alberta.  Being an administrator and teacher in schools from K – 12 in four different school divisions has allowed her the opportunity to work with a variety of teachers, administrators and division personnel. In addition, she is a certified mediator and published author. Konni joined the Alberta Teachers’ Association as an executive staff officer in the Member Services program area in 2004 and in 2006 became the Associate Coordinator Member Services, Administrator Services with a responsibility for professional learning and support for Alberta’s school leaders. Her doctoral focus was on relationships of trust in school settings and how these are related to important outcomes such as teacher behavior and student outcomes. Her presentations help school and district leaders to develop effective and intentional leadership practices in learning communities, where leaders feel comfortable with taking risks to bring out the best in the teachers in their schools and districts.

11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.      Session evaluation and journal reflections
11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.       Lunch in the cafeteria
1:00 – 4:00 p.m           Instructional Leadership: Job One for School Administrators (Presenter: Dr. Del Litke)

School leadership, especially instructional leadership, is recognized as essential to the improvement of teaching and learning. In fact, it is considered to be the school administrator’s primary responsibility—i.e. JOB ONE! Principals now find themselves at the nexus of accountability and improvement with the clear expectation that they will function as instructional leaders. Research clearly shows that school administrators must be true instructional leaders by keeping their focus on teaching and learning.

This session will focus on some key aspects of school improvement: the change process, staff culture and the need for personalization of formative feedback to staff. Participants will also engage in an engaging, hands-on activity that causes them to think deeply about school culture and how to promote healthy cultures. The ultimate aim of this session is to assist participants to develop a sustainable culture of outstanding leadership, exemplary teaching and excellence in learning in their schools.

In his 30+ years in education, Dr. Del Litke has a total of 18 years of teaching and school-based administrative experience, including 16 years at the junior high school level. He also served 17 years at the division office level. Following his career as a school-based administrator, Del served for 12 years on the superintendency team in Wolf Creek Public Schools. Del has presented at a number of major conferences including the Alberta Middle School Association Conference, the Alberta Beginning Teachers’ Conference, CASS/Alberta Education Curriculum Symposium, the Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention, Leading and Learning Conference, and the Greater Edmonton Teachers’ Convention. He has published articles for Educational Leadership, Phi Delta Kappa, Alberta Journal of Educational Research and Journal of Distance Education. He has also served as an instructor for the University of Alberta, University of Lethbridge, Gonzaga University and Red Deer College. In August of 2010, Del joined the central office team in Foothills School Division in the position of Deputy Superintendent of Schools. In the summer of 2014, Del completed his career in public education retiring as the Superintendent of Schools in Foothills School Division.  Currently, Del maintains his passion for education serving as the Director of Leadership Learning for the College of Alberta School Superintendents. In 2017, Del broadened his vast experience with a short engagement in China as a principal of an Alberta accredited high school. This is the 13th consecutive year that Del will be presenting at the Leading for Learning Short Course.

4:00 – 4:15 p.m.      Session evaluation and journal reflections
6:00 p.m.                   Dinner and Social with Start Right participants (Location TBD)
7:00-8:00 p.m.         The Bearpit with Dr. Konni deGoeij, Alberta Teachers’ Association

As a school based leader, you now have significantly more responsibilities than you did as a classroom teacher. This session will be a question and answer session allowing participants to ask a variety of questions of our ATA Member Services coordinator: Dr. Konni deGoeij. Questions of a general nature will be answered with topics such as staffing, collective agreements, policies, difficult situations, and what to do when?… scenarios. Therefore, we encourage you to bring you questions – and ask any question – in an open and honest dialogue about your current position. Some of the answers may surprise you, but, more importantly, they will assist you in making good decisions.

8:00 – 11:00 p.m.                    Socializing and Networking

Thursday, July 4: Bell eLearning Center

Please check out of accommodations before the morning session!!

8:30 – 11:30 a.m.        Concept-Based Curriculum Alignment and Efficacious Instruction  (Presenter: Dr. Scott Morrison)

Scott Morrison’s session will begin with a biographical account of how curriculum alignment and a select instructional strategy led to success while serving as a teacher, principal, and superintendent. In so doing, Scott will unpack the process of concept-based curriculum alignment, and illustrate the efficacy of the select instructional strategy. The session will conclude with participants engaging in a game-based inquiry about instructional best practices. The overall goal is for participants to leave with clear insights about concept-based curriculum alignment and efficacious instructional practices. The session will reference the works of Hattie, Marzano, Pollock, and Schmoker.

Dr. Scott Morrison is the Superintendent of Christ the Redeemer (CTR) Catholic Schools, serving approximately 10,000 students in Okotoks, High River, Brooks, Strathmore, Canmore, Drumheller, and Oyen. Scott has been an educator for over 25 years, also serving in roles as a secondary classroom teacher, an elementary school principal, a high school principal, a division principal, and an associate superintendent. Scott also serves as a sessional instructor in educational psychology at St. Mary’s University in Calgary. Scott has a B.Ed. from the University of Lethbridge, an MA from Gonzaga University, and an Ed.D. from Taft University.  Scott has presented dozens of professional development workshops on the topics of academic achievement, creating safe and caring schools, classroom management, educational leadership, teacher supervision and evaluation, schools of hope, and student engagement. Scott’s research interests include formative assessment, curriculum alignment, distributed practice, student achievement, educational leadership, teacher efficacy, student efficacy, literacy, and organizational storytelling. This is the 13th consecutive year that Scott will be presenting at Leading for Learning.

11:30 – 11:45 a.m.              Session evaluation and journal reflections
11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.      Lunch break (cafeteria)

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  “Leading a Team is Key to Being a Successful Principal” (Presenter: Kurt Sacher)

So now that I’ve been a principal for a while, how do I really build a strong team? 

Based on Patrick Lencioni’s work in his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Kurt will help you reflect on where your team is now and where you might want to take them. We know that the principal is absolutely key when it comes to building a strong staff team. 

In an interactive session, Kurt will share his personal insight having worked closely with over 30 unique school staffs in two school divisions strengthening their respective teams. He will illustrate how principals can move a team forward using Lencioni’s theoretical base blended with some tried and true practical applications and processes. 

Kurt Sacher has served as Superintendent of Schools in Chinook’s Edge School Division for the past 9 years. Prior to that, he served for 8 years as an Assistant Superintendent in charge of Human Resources for Wolf Creek Public Schools. He has 33 years of teaching and administrative experience, including 11 years as a school-based administrator. Kurt was Head Teacher for an Outreach School in Penticton, British Columbia, Assistant Principal and Principal at Trochu Valley School, and concluded his school-based administrative experience by serving as Principal of Lacombe Composite High School for 5 years.   Kurt has presented “The Story of Lester” at venues across Alberta for the past number of years which facilitates insight around the complexity of teacher performance issues. Kurt has also presented on several occasions to schools and various other groups on topics such as: “Building an Effective Team”; “The Big Little Things Great Teachers Do”; and “Dealing with Difficult Parents”.  Kurt was appointed the President for CASS for 2018-2019 school year effective July 1, 2018 and is currently a member of the C21 CEO Academy of Canada. This is the 13th consecutive year that Kurt will be presenting at the Leading for Learning Short Course.

4:00 – 4:15 p.m.             Session evaluation and journal reflections
4:15 – 4:30 p.m.             Presentation of certificates; “Home time” and the beginning of summer vacation!

About Program Co-coordinator Elizabeth Gouthro

Elizabeth Gouthro was an educator with the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) for forty-three years.  From 2010 until her retirement, she has served as Director, Instructional Services, (Special Education, English Language learning, psychology, Early learning, Aboriginal Education, Outreach.). Prior to this, she served as Director for Diversity since September 2007 where she has responsibility for providing culturally and linguistically services and support to the CBE. Liz has also served in numerous other areas including Area Director, Principal and classroom teacher.

Elizabeth’s academic credentials include Doctoral Studies – Educational Leadership and a Master of Education, Human Resources and Organizational Behaviour from the University of Calgary; a Bachelor of Education Degree in Secondary Education, Math and Science from Acadia University; a Master of Science Degree in Endocrinology, Dalhousie University; and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and English, St. Francis Xavier University. (elizabeth.gouthro@cass.ab.ca).

Olds College Information

PDF  Campus Map

Participants will stay in the residences at Centennial Village! Each private room is furnished with a double bed, desk plus chair, closet with shelving, a night stand, and private bath. All units are non-smoking. Free parking is available. For more information, go to http://oldscollege.ca/student-life/student-housing/centennial-village/index.

Participants will be provided with a cafeteria meal ticket that covers meals on Wednesday and Thursday morning, and Wednesday and Thursday lunch. A traditional first nations feast will be provided Tuesday evening with appetizers served following the sessions. There will also be a banquet on Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. This will be a joint function with the Start Right participants.  Breakfast will be served from 7:00 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., lunch from 11:45 noon to 1:00 p.m. Refreshments will be available during session breaks.

Location of Sessions
All sessions will be held on the beautiful Olds College Campus.  Smoking is not permitted inside the Centre or any other building on campus.

University Graduate Coursework

Registration Procedures: Leading for Learning 2019

University Credit: Arrangements have been made with Alberta universities to offer graduate coursework for participants who are interested in extending the Leading for Learning 2019 short course learning experience. If you are interested in pursuing this option, you will be required to register with the university and to pay a tuition fee. If you plan to register, please contact the university at your earliest convenience in order to ensure that enrollment requirements are met. The contact information is as follows:

University of Alberta
Please e-mail Dr. José da Costa, Ed.D., Professor of Educational Administration and Leadership, Department of Educational Policy Studies, Faculty of Education at jdacosta@ualberta.ca. Dr. da Costa will provide information about both the registration procedures and the additional reading and assignment required.

University of Calgary/Werklund School of Education
Please e-mail Dr. Jim Brandon, Associate Dean, Professional and Community Engagement, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary.  jbrandon@ucalgary.ca. Dr. Brandon will provide information about both the registration procedures and the additional assignment(s) required.

University of Lethbridge
In-program University of Lethbridge M.Ed. students and current M.Ed. applicants should contact Kevin Matis at matis@uleth.ca with regard to registration with a copy to Dr. Mombourquette at carmen.mombourquette@uleth.ca who will provide information about Independent Study and Open Studies Registration processes. (i.e. deadlines and additional expectations for academic work.)

Please note: The University of Lethbridge will only take applications from U of L current and former students.

Conference Reading and Resource Materials

PDF  Leadership Quality Standard PDF  Teaching Quality Standard PDF  Instructional Tool Kit

Tuesday, July 2

3:15 – 5:30 p.m. Developing and Fostering a Braided Approach to Indigenous Education:  Moving beyond beads, bannock, feathers and books

Section 1: Indigenous Education Resources:  Where do I start?

Section 2: Our Shared History, Our Shared Future:  A Brief Introduction to Treaties

Wednesday, July 3

8:30 – 11:30 a.m. Providing Quality School Leadership: Dr. Konni deGoeij, Alberta Teachers’ Association
Dealing with Difficult People and Difficult Issues

1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Instructional Leadership: Job One for School Administrators (Presenter: Dr. Del Litke)

7:00-8:00 p.m. The Bearpit with Dr. Konni deGoeij, Alberta Teachers’ Association

Thursday, July 4

8:30 – 11:30 a.m. Concept-Based Curriculum Alignment and Efficacious Instruction  (Presenter: Dr. Scott Morrison)

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  “Leading a Team is Key to Being a Successful Principal” (Presenter: Kurt Sacher)

Registrations will still be accepted through the weekend by phoning Del Litke at (780) 293-3315.


Establish a sense of efficacy and confidence in newly appointed school leaders by providing practical, grounded advice.

CASS Professional Learning Goal 2019-20

Deepening the understanding and applying the learning to support implementation of professional practice.


July 2-4, 2019


Olds College
Olds, Alberta

Accommodations: Participants will stay in the new residences at Centennial Village! Each room is furnished with a double bed, desk plus chair, closet with shelving, a night stand, and private bath. All units are non-smoking. Free parking is available. For more information, go to http://choc.ca/campus-housing/centennial-village#amenities

Meals are provided as part of the registration package.

Location of Sessions: All sessions will be held on the beautiful Olds College campus. Senior CASS members (participant supervisors) are welcome to drop-in!