Innovative Leaders Institute: Bridge to STEM

Leading change: The journey to STEM excellence

Innovative Leaders Institute: Bridge to STEM aims to bring together leaders of aspiring STEM and STEAM schools and strengthen their knowledge of STEM education, STEM culture, and leading for change.

Grounded in the tenets of transformational leadership and the elements of the Quality Model for STEM and STEAM Schools and the STEM and STEAM Designation Rubric, this year-long program adopts a practitioner-oriented approach to creating schoolwide STEM culture, ensuring buy-in and providing supports to all stakeholders in transforming educational practices into high-quality STEM teaching and learning, and creating strong community supports through partnerships with business, industry, non-profits, and higher education institutions.

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Program details

Applications close June 1, 2024


  • A school or district leader (principal, assistant principal, superintendent, assistant superintendent, etc.)
    • from a school not currently STEM or STEAM designated
    • from a currently STEM or STEAM designated looking to re-ignite STEM practices and culture
  • Optional but strongly encouraged: Additional team member such as another school leader, instructional coach, curriculum specialist, or teacher leader


Thanks to Ohio’s generous support of the Ohio STEM Learning Network, the $2,750.00 program fee (per school) for the 2024-2025 ILI: Bridge to STEM is waived.

The program participants are expected to:

  • Attend and actively participate in all program meetings (virtual and in-person)
  • Complete asynchronous program tasks and activities

The inaugural cohort of ILI: Bridge to STEM is limited to 18 schools (36 participants). Due to limited number of seats, program fee being waved, and multiple events taking place during the school year, the accepted participants will be required to confirm their district leadership’s (superintendent) support for participating in the program.


Applications for the Institute will be accepted on rolling basis. The applications will close May 31, 2024.

The notifications of selected cohort participants will begin in April. Participants not accepted into the cohort will be placed on the waiting list and notified of their status no later than June 15, 2024.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided for all participants during the in-person workshops.

Institute participants will have an opportunity to earn graduate college credit.


Dee Martindale, District STEM Coordinator for Lakewood Local Schools

Read Dee’s perspective in: Faculty member of leaders institute: “STEM isn’t just one more thing” published in 2017


Larry W. Johnson, Jr., Secondary Principal Supervisor for Akron Public Schools

Larry Johnson Jr. headshot

Read Larry’s perspective in “Five things you’ll learn through the Innovative Leaders Institute

The Bridge to STEM experience

1) STEM School Immersion

2) STEM Culture and Identity

3) Business, Community, and School Connections

4) STEM Designation

5) Teachers in STEM Schools

6) Student Experiences in STEM Schools

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