Middle Grades Leadership Academy

Who We Are

Established with a mission to address the changing dynamics for middle grades' (6th-8th) education, the Middle Grades Leadership Academy (MGLA) draws on a national team of leadership experts with multiple years of educational experience. The MGLA is a result of a vision created by a partnership among Dr. Yvette Richardson, Alabama State Board of Education member, Dr. Tommy Bice, Alabama State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Jeanie Box, dean of the Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education, and Dr. Peggy Connell, assistant professor in the educational leadership department and retired superintendent.

Learn more about the mentors. 

What We Do

MGLA equips leaders with the knowledge, skills and strategies listed below.

To create and support schools that:

  • Activate students' interests and desire to lean;
  • Motivate teachers and provide the necessary support to increase effectiveness;
  • Involve parents and families; and
  • Enact continuous improvement processes (SREB, 2011).

To build capacity of teachers to:

  • Demonstrate a passion for their work;
  • Learn continually, reflect on learning and practice, and identify and solve problems of practice;
  • Develop relationships with students grounded in students' interests and background knowledge;
  • Demonstrate strong knowledge of content areas and a deep understanding of the development of middle grades students; and
  • Collaborate with leadership teams to implement continuous improvement processes.

To ensure students:

  • Demonstrate readiness to begin challenging high school courses by the end of the eighth grade (SREB, 2011);
  • Utilize critical thinking, collaborate to solve problems, communicate, and reflect; and
  • Demonstrate responsible social and civic behaviors.

 Resources (password-protected)

Training Dates

All trainings will take place on Samford University's campus.

First training - September 10
Second training - November 5
Third training - March 4


For more information, please contact Dr. Peggy Connell at phconnel@samford.edu or (205) 726-2439.

Learn more.