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Logo for Local Elected Leaders AcademyLocal elected officials face unique issues and challenges throughout their tenure in office. The LELA Program creates continuous pathways for learning and recognition designed to suit the needs of local elected officials at any phase of their tenure in public office. Local elected officials automatcially become a part of the Local Elected Leaders’ Academy upon completion of the Essentials (County or Municipal) program.

An underlying premise of the Local Elected Leaders Academy is that you don’t govern alone. This reflects the fact that most public issues are not confined to a single unit of government or a single level of government. Public issues often cross geographic and political boundaries to affect others. LELA is desinged to help local elected officials (counties, municipalities, tribal councils, and others) develop a mutual understanding of the ways in which governing at the local level affects many residents and differing constituencies, regardless of where they live.

Courses are offered in different formats and lengths and at multiple times throughout the year to ensure elected officials have the opportuity to create the learning experience that best suits their needs.

The LELA Curriculum

The LELA curriculum provides interchangeable pathways to help elected officials maintain constant awareness of the ever-evolving legal requirements of governing and creates opportunities for leaders to develop the personal leadership skills and behavior that promote effective governance at the local level.

Courses are arranged in four levels of continuous inquiry about the legal, practical, and personal dimensions of leading and governing. It is not required that these courses be taken in ascending order – the levels and the development skills they target are described below.

LELA 101: From Campaigning to Governing: Laws, Roles, and Responsibilities

Beginning with our “Essentials” programs, local elected leaders are given the knowledge and skills to understand and appreciate their primary roles in governing at the local level. Instruction focuses on fundamental legal frameworks and the primary responsibilties of elected officials as board members and individuals. Elected officials are encouraged to take as many of these programs as possible in their first two years in office.

Essentials of Municipal Government Essentials of County Government


LELA 201: Pathways to Local Leadership

Courses at this level bring local elected officials together to foster mutual understanding and appreciation for the issues and challenges that affect life in their communities. Content covers the more complex functions of city and county government where lawas have no jurisdictional distinctions and introduces leadership practices that contribute to high perfoming boards.

LELA 301: Pathways to Collaborative Leadership

These courses are designed to help leaders develop effective practices for collaborating with others to resolve complex public problems and to influence change.  Participants in these courses are interested in being bridge-builders in their communities and regions. These courses help elected officials refine their leadership behaviors to build trust and a sense of shared purpose with elected or appointed constituency groups both within and beyond their local government boundaries.

LELA 401: Pathways to Advanced Leading and Governing

These programs help elected officials build on their local government experiences and contribute to their understanding of issues that affect the state and nation. Offerings in this category help develop personal leadership  skills and create solutions to cross-jurisdictional public problems. Some 401 level programs require advanced applications and are by admission only.