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The Year That Was
Global School Leaders | 2022

  • Hook story/anecdote/quote/metaphor, preferably from a visit somewhere (brazil?)

  • In 2022 Global School Leaders served XX School Leaders across XX regions in the Global South, reaching over xx million students.  

  • We wanted to take a minute to pause and reflect on the insights we’ve gathered and clarify the work that lies ahead for us in the coming new year. 

  • This note summarises our efforts to scale and deepen partnerships across geographies and organizations and build a collective voice around school leadership support.

  • We feel privileged to have been able to support school leaders in meeting the needs of children through these times. We thank you for being a source of strength and inspiration to us throughout this year.

Azad Oommen, 



School Leaders are critical to student outcomes.

Yet school leaders are undervalued and under-recognized, especially in LMICs. Training for school leaders, when it exists, often focuses on administrative processes rather than the culture-building and instructional leadership skills needed to improve student learning. These systems thwart strong school leaders, forcing them to spend time managing up, rather than building a thriving school culture that fosters learning for children.


At Global School Leaders, we see our work as building a movement around school leadership. To do this, we have three core pieces of work. 



Catalyze and Scale
Leadership Organizations:

We provide resources, support, and a network for partner organizations to deliver and scale high-quality training to school leaders.

Individual, Organizational and Governmental Network Support:


We connect our partner organizations for deep learning between themselves and amongst the broader school leadership community - governments, funders, and policymakers.

Identify and Share Knowledge and Learning:


We connect our partner organizations for deep learning between themselves and amongst the broader school leadership community - governments, funders, and policymakers.

Priority I

Support the delivery and scaling of
high-quality training to School Leaders.

GSL has identified a series of 6 high-leverage leadership actions that are trainable, cut across contexts, and will improve student outcomes across various cultural and policy contexts where our leaders operate. These resources are public goods for organizations to adapt to local contexts and will eventually be available on a Country Partner Hub that houses curriculum, M&E resources, and a data dashboard.


One of the key elements of ensuring Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) programs are sustainable and well-embedded in school systems long after this global focus shifts, is the need to build school leaders’ capacity to lead and effectively manage such interventions in their schools. GSL is working on releasing an FLN toolkit that aims to create succinct and practical resources for school leaders (or anyone responsible for overseeing FLN across a school). 


Given the urgent need to ensure gender equity in education, we are developing a gender agenda that includes supporting the implementation of gender-responsive programs, producing evidence, and catalyzing a policy conversation around the role of school leaders in producing equitable outcomes. We are working with key partners to develop a literature review and a gender audit of existing content and approach to school leadership training.

Global School Leaders works with a network of five partners: Alokit in India, Centro Lemann in Brazil, Dignitas in Kenya, Inspirasi Foundation in Indonesia, and Pemimpin GSL in Malaysia. We share learning and resources and support one another to develop high-quality school leadership programs.


In November 2022, we gathered in Hyderabad, India, to connect in person for the first time. We collaborated on the question of scalability and considered how we could strengthen our fledgling movement around school leadership. 

GSL Country Partner
2022 Highlights


Priority II

Spur advocacy, action, and a belief in the critical role that School Leaders play.

We aspire to catalyze energy and excitement around school leadership by convening stakeholders interested in school leadership in LMICs. We hope that these convenings will spur advocacy, action, and a belief across actors in the education space in the critical role that school leaders play in making a difference for students. 

School Leadership Network
with UNESCO TTF and the
Varkey Foundation

The School Leadership Network is a global community of School Leaders and Educational Leadership Experts created to strengthen school leadership roles. In 2022 we engaged over 500 School Leaders, 167 Education Experts in over 50 countries. 

South-South Dialogue Series with The World Bank and the Education Commission

The South-South series facilitated knowledge sharing across large-scale programs and initiatives, bringing together representatives of academia, government, civil society, and philanthropy from countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. 

2022_ South South Exchange Webinar Posters (Instagram Post (Square)) (1) copy.png

In the Principal's Office: Season #1

"In the Principal's Office" is a take on a childhood memory of being summoned to the principal’s office. While that summoning was often ominous, we want to play on that memory and explore our relationship with our school principals. We hypothesize that because of our personal schooling experience, where the principal was often ‘invisible,’ we continue to accept that ‘invisible’ status as professionals. 


School Principals Sarita Nair and Liza Zulva play hosts as they interview education thought-leaders Jaime Saavedra, Wendy Kopp, Rukmini Banerji, Vikas Pota, and Ziauddin Yousafzai on the importance of school leadership.

Priority III

Generate insights to inform the best ways to support and develop strong school leadership

School Leadership is a vastly understudied area of research in LMICs. GSL aims to address this challenge by collaborating with in-country partners to develop and scale innovative school leader training programs that generate practice-based evidence on strengthening school leadership to improve student outcomes.

This year, with our Country Partners, we researched what elements of School Leader training really matter to improving teacher practice and student outcomes.  In partnership with RISE, we piloted a system diagnostic study for school leaders and education officers. Together with ADBI, we completed a study in 25 primary schools; the interventions improved student numeracy skills within eight weeks. And finally, we have partnered with FID and J-PAL to test and evaluate a high-quality and low-cost capacity-building program for school leaders in the State of Telangana in India.

PULS Survey Report 2022
(Promoting Understanding of Leadership in Schools)

In August 2022, Global School Leaders conducted its third annual pulse survey, Promoting Understanding of Leadership in Schools (PULS), with total respondents of 2,646 school leaders from 11 countries.​ The PULS Survey aims to inform policy- and decision-makers about the on-the-ground reality of and the support needed by school leaders in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). 

Screenshot 2022-11-09 at 09.01.20.png

Fund for Innovation in Development (FID) with J-Pal South Asia and Alokit

The project aims to test and evaluate a high-quality and low-cost capacity-building program for school leaders in the State of Telangana in India to improve school and teaching practices that could lead to improvement in student learning outcomes. 


Centro Lemann





Our Next Three Years


We want to catalyze real action on school leadership through our work. To do so, we aspire for our team to be big enough to effectively support this work, yet to be lean compared to the larger network of partners. We need to invest in our ability to be deeply engaged with our Country Partners, to have the technological tools to capture and share information and insights, and to build systems and processes that allow for all of these parts to operate in harmony. 

Our Partners 


Alokit, India


Dignitas, Kenya


Centro Lemann, Brazil


Pemimpin, Malaysia


Inspirasi, Indonesia

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