At a Glance
- ESP Professional Growth Continuum
- Professional Leadership
- Develop skills in advocacy, communication, leadership, organizing, SEL, and more
- Connect with a cohort of ESP leaders from across the country
- Grow as influential leaders of your schools, associations, and communities
- Education Support Professional
Approximately 1+ year
Virtual, In-Person, or Blended
ESPLI has been designed by ESP members for ESP members. The program requires in-person trainings, virtual meetings, and webinars, as well as outside readings and homework. To graduate from the program, participants must also identify, implement, and present a capstone project that reflects their growth as an ESP leader and puts into practice at least one skill or content area they have learned from ESPLI.
- Must be an active NEA ESP member in good standing.
- Must have been an NEA member in good standing for at least the last two years.
- Must commit to participating fully in all in-person and virtual sessions and activities, including completing and presenting a capstone project.
- Must commit to utilizing the skills learned to further association goals and priorities and elevate ESP careers.
- Must provide documentation from employer approving release time for all in-person sessions.
- Must submit the online application by midnight EDT on August 11, 2023.
- Must submit the video requirement by midnight EDT on August 14, 2023
Participants of ESPLI will engage in thorough and targeted training across an array of leadership areas, including:
- Social and Emotional Intelligence
- Use of Self
- True Colors
- Risk Taking and Change Management
- Racial and Social Justice
- Communication and Presentation Skills
- Political Action and Advocacy
- Organizing and Capacity Building
- Time Management and Goal Setting
- Team Building
- Decision Making
- Leading Change
In-Person Meeting Dates and Funding
NEA will fully fund participants to attend all in-person sessions as permitted under the NEA travel guidelines, including transportation, lodging, meals, and substitute pay or salary reimbursement. Travel and lodging will be covered through NEA's direct billing process. All other approved travel expenses will be covered through NEA's non-staff travel stipend process. Affiliates incur no financial obligations for this program.
The first two meetings will be held virtually and are tentatively scheduled for November and December 2023 (dates and platforms are TBD).
The in-person trainings will tentatively be held on the following dates. Meetings noted with an asterisk are mandatory. Note: These dates include travel days.
- *February 15-19, 2024
- March 19-25, 2024 (NEA ESP National Conference) (Optional)
- *July 22-26, 2024
- *November 14-19, 2024
- March 21-24, 2025 (Graduation at the NEA ESP National Conference) (Optional)
All members accepted to the program must secure release time for all in-person sessions and provide documentation from their employer approving the release time.
Online Application Requirements
Applications that do not conform to the following deadlines and format specifications will not be considered.
- Applications must be completed through the online application form.
- Applications must be submitted by midnight EDT on Friday, August 11, 2023.
- Handwritten applications will not be accepted.
Before starting the application, you may want to think about the following questions beforehand.
Note: For all open-ended questions below there is a 4,000 character word limit.
- What is your 10-Digit NEA Membership ID Number? (Can be found on the address label of your NEA Today magazine or by calling your State Affiliate.)
- What is your UniServ Director's name, email address, and phone number? This is your staff representative from your state affiliate. They may have the title Organizational Specialist, Labor Relations Specialist, Field Rep, or something else in your state. If unsure, please check with your Local President or State Association.
- What is your Local President's name, email address, and phone number?
- How many years have you been a member of your Local?
- How many ESPs are currently members of your Local?
- How many certified members (i.e., teachers, specialized instructional support personnel) (if any) are currently in your Local?
- How many potential members are in your Local, including ESPs and certified members?
- How many years has your Local been organized/affiliated with NEA?
- What roles, responsibilities and/or positions do you CURRENTLY HOLD in your LOCAL Association? How long have you held each role/position?
- What roles, responsibilities and/or positions have you HELD IN THE PAST in your LOCAL Association? How long did you hold each role/position?
- What roles, responsibilities, and/or positions do you CURRENTLY HOLD in your STATE Association? How long have you held each role/position?
- What roles, responsibilities, and/or positions have you HELD IN THE PAST in your STATE Association? How long did you hold each role/position?
- What roles, responsibilities, and/or positions do you CURRENTLY HOLD in the NATIONAL Association (NEA)? How long have you held each role/position?
- What roles, responsibilities, and/or positions have you HELD IN THE PAST in the NATIONAL Association (NEA)? How long did you hold each role/position?
- Why did you get involved in your Association?
- What Local, State, and/or National Association training have you participated in?
- What are your Association leadership aspirations, and how will they help grow and strengthen your Association (Local, State and/or National, please be specific)? Please do not name a position or title to which you wish to be appointed or elected.
- How do you envision ESPLI strengthening your leadership skills?
- Identify two leadership skills you want to enhance through ESPLI and describe why.
- What strengths and positive qualities do you bring to ESPLI (brag on yourself!)?
Personal Video Introductions
- Applicants must also submit a short personal video introduction (6 minutes max) by midnight EDT on August 14, 2023.
- Applicants must answer the following three questions in their videos:
- Who are three leaders that you admire and why?
- Where do you see yourself in your Association and your career in 3-5 years?
- What do you like to do in your free time/what are your hobbies?
- Videos must be high enough quality for the selection committee to see and hear the applicant. It does not need to be "flashy" or professionally done. It can be recorded on your mobile phone, iPad, computer, Zoom, or however you choose. The selection committee is looking for substance, not polish.
- Failure to submit a video by midnight EDT on August 14, 2023, will disqualify applicants from being considered.
- Applicants will receive an email with instructions on how to submit the video after the online application is received.