Local Government Leadership Academy

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Enhance your leadership skills and gain tools to address issues impacting your local government. Explore and find solutions to generate results. Engage with other local government leaders to shape the future of your community.

The Local Government Leadership Academy began as a collaborative effort between the Wisconsin Counties Association, Leadership Wisconsin, and UW-Madison Division of Extension and serves

  • elected officials who understand the basics of their role and are ready to take on new leadership challenges.
  • department heads, directors and managers who are new to leadership roles, as well as those aspiring to or preparing for leadership roles.
  • anyone interested in becoming a more effective leader in local government.

State and federal funding reductions, paired with increasing demands for services, will force local government to find innovative solutions to better serve their citizenry.

-Mark O’Connell, Executive Director – Wisconsin Counties Association

Watch the video and hear a message from Mark O’Connell


The Academy

Academies are a place of training in a particular field. In the Local Government Leadership Academy you will focus on four primary skills of being an effective local government leader: relationship-building, communication, decision-making and vision. Each of these four topics is grounded in the idea that we lead in service of the community and “we can accomplish more together than we can alone” (Max DePree).

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Your academy experience is shaped around three specific goals

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Advance your leadership goals

Is it hard to find time to be intentional about what you want to accomplish as a leader?

During the academy you will take the time to set, work on and track your leadership goals.

Wisconsin Local Government Leadership Academy with WI Capitol building in background






Apply your learning in real-time

Do you learn a lot in workshops but revert to the usual routine when you return to the office?

The academy promises to give you actionable skills and tools you can implement immediately.

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Exchange challenges and knowledge 

Have you ever wished for a safe place to try on new ideas or discuss a problem?

You’ll have time to connect with other local government leaders, learn from their experiences and get feedback on the things that matter most to your leadership success.

Academy Schedule

The academy runs January through August and includes four 2-day workshops in Stevens Point, group virtual meetings and self-paced learning activities.

Note: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 program will vary slightly from past years. We anticipate holding two in-person workshops in late-spring/early-summer, with virtual delivery replacing the first two workshops.

If you have questions about how we plan to adapt the program to follow public health guidelines while still giving participants a valuable experience, please contact the academy’s lead facilitator, Jeremy Solin.

Register now >

2021 Academy Schedule
mid-September– Registration opens with nonrefundable $150 deposit due at time of registration
December –  Registration closes
January 2021 – Virtual Orientation Sessions

1/ 21: Noon – 1:00 p.m.

1/28: Noon – 1:00 p.m.

February – March  – Virtual Sessions for Unit 1: Relationships

  2/4 :  Noon – 1:00 p.m.

2/18:  Noon – 1:00 p.m.

  3/4:   Noon – 1:00 p.m.

3/18:  Noon – 1:00 p.m.

April – May – Virtual Sessions for Unit 2: Communications

  4/1 :  Noon – 1:00 p.m.

4/15:  Noon – 1:00 p.m.

  5/6:   Noon – 1:00 p.m.

5/20:  Noon – 1:00 p.m.

June – July – Unit 3:  Decision-making

6/17:   Virtual session – Noon – 1:00 p.m.

7/22:   In-person workshop (Stevens Point) 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

*Alternate plan if public health concerns:

6/3 and 7/8:   Virtual sessions – Noon – 1:00 p.m.

August – September – Unit 4: Visionary Leadership

8/19:   Virtual session – Noon – 1:00 p.m.

9/16:   In-person workshop (Stevens Point) 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

*Alternate plan if public health concerns:

8/5 and 9/2:   Virtual sessions – Noon – 1:00 p.m.

September 28 – Graduation

**Wisconsin Counties Association Conference, La Crosse

* In-person workshops will be held if public health recommendations and UW-Madison policy allow in-person gatherings by June. If in-person workshops are not possible due to COVID-19, the workshops will be replaced with bi-weekly 1-hour virtual meetings.

** If public health conditions allow, the recognition ceremony will take place at the the Wisconsin Counties Association Annual Conference.


The Academy cost of $1,200 includes instruction fees, learning materials, a professional portrait and meals during workshop hours. You are responsible for your own transportation and lodging costs, as well as meals not included as part of the workshops. A $150 nonrefundable deposit is required at the time of registration. The remaining fees may be paid in monthly installments starting January 2021.


Registration is now open >

If you have questions contact Jeremy Solin.

Taking control of uncertainty and successfully steering through frequent bends in the road is the fundamental leadership challenge of our time. As catalysts for continuous improvement, leaders must realize that to build organizations which are simultaneously purpose-driven, performance-focused and principles-led is mission-critical. New circumstances require fresh solutions and that’s what the Local Government Leadership Program is all about!

– Patrick Ibarra, The Mejorando Group

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