Leadership Academy

JustLead Washington’s signature program is the Leadership Academy, a nine-month, cohort-based experience designed to build a broad network of community leaders who can effectively and collaboratively work toward equity and justice with low-income and marginalized individuals and communities in Washington. Leadership Academy Fellows are drawn from organizations working within the civil, criminal, and juvenile justice systems as well as community-based social justice organizations.

The application period for the 2018 Leadership Academy is now closed. To view our announcement regarding 2018 Fellows, please click hereTo learn about our 2017 Fellows, please click here

The Program

The Leadership Academy’s core curriculum is built on the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law’s “Leadership for Justice” Seven Competencies model and tailored to fit the distinctive context of Washington State. Fellows participate in four 2.5 day training quarterly retreats as well as online coursework throughout the year.

The curriculum is firmly rooted in the experience, practice and values of Washington’s equity and justice community. The program expressly focuses on increasing understanding of the ways in which poverty is inextricably linked with systemic racism and other forms of bias and oppression, and Fellows learn how to identify and tackle the ways in which compounding factors have led to and continue to perpetuate harm, particularly within low-income communities and communities of color

Cohort Learning

Each year we select cohorts of fellows that reflect the diversity of the many communities served by the justice systems in Washington so that Fellows can draw from each other’s experiences and perspectives and apply their learning to real-world challenges.

The Leadership Academy is NOT about positional authority, but rather, is about a person’s deep commitment to actively engage in powerful leadership behaviors, regardless of their current role. Cohorts include Fellows serving in organizations addressing a wide range of equity and justice issues in Washington such as Alliance for Equal Justice (civil legal aid), criminal justice, and juvenile justice organizations; legal advocacy organizations; public sector agencies; and community-based organizations.

At least 30% of each cohort is drawn from community-based organizations who work within low-income and marginalized communities and whose work and/or communities intersect with the civil, criminal, and/or juvenile justice system. Typically 1/3 or more of the cohort is comprised of people of color, and Fellows come from counties throughout Washington, including rural and urban communities.


The Leadership Academy connects you to a great network of people that are making a difference all over our state. It provides the opportunity to reflect about our work and widen our circle of inclusivity.

Chach Duarte White, Legal Counsel for Youth and Children

The Leadership Academy changed the way I look at my community and this great nation. If you care about the future of our collective humanity, JustLead!

Francis Adewale, Spokane City Public Defender’s Office

This has been an amazing opportunity to strengthen my professional skills, learn from the brilliance and experience of my peers, and make connections with organizations and colleagues I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I encourage all people working in the equity and justice community to apply. You’ll develop a framework and analysis of how to work … Continue reading Jay Doran, Legal Foundation of Washington

Jay Doran, Legal Foundation of Washington

I was struck by how JustLead had specific examples of historical racism in our community, which, because they created a safe environment for learning, created lots of ‘aha’s’ for the folks participating. Their training was incredibly effective and offered content for those who were new to the subject and those that were more knowledgeable. I left the … Continue reading Kirsten Barron, LAW Advocates Board Member

Kirsten Barron, LAW Advocates Board Member

Working together collaboratively with attorneys that are trying to impact change has really been so beneficial. We are speaking the same language, and we are able to create systemic change not just for agencies, not just for our communities, but across the entire state of Washington.

Kitara Johnson, Excelsior Youth Center

I have met amazing people and have gained valuable tools. I have a deeper understanding of power structure, privilege and implicit bias and ways to effectuate both systems and social change. My participation has already changed the way in which I engage with my community. It is a critical training for any advocate.

Lisa Waldvogel, Northwest Justice Project, Longview

The tools that are coming out of this Academy are amazing and are one of the most powerful ways that we are developing leadership in this community.

Michele Storms, ACLU of Washington