The Public Education Leadership Project (PELP) aims to increase its intellectual contribution to the field through expanded partnerships among Harvard faculty, doctoral students and the field. With its core focus on strategic decision making in large urban school systems, PELP offers an extraordinary opportunity to develop new knowledge that extends Harvard’s intellectual contribution to the field across schools and disciplines, expands the connection to useful knowledge by its doctoral programs and students, and influences the work of the largest school systems in the country, with implications for public education as a whole.

Our Mission

To improve the management and leadership competencies of preK-12 public school leaders in order to drive greater educational outcomes. To truly serve all students and meet our society’s expectations of high quality teaching and learning, leaders at all levels of a school district must work to ensure that all students have rich learning opportunities and achieve at high levels throughout a system of schools.

Jen Cheatam


We welcome you to our PELP Project site and hope you are able access resources to help your systems leadership.

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Our Impact

Over the course of the initiative, PELP has partnered with 46 urban school districts from across 25 states representing more than 5.4 million students in annual enrollments.

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Our History

In the fall of 2003, faculty and staff from the HGSE and the HBS joined together to examine how the art and science of management could help public schools improve student performance.

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Our People

PELP was founded in 2003 as a partnership between two Harvard professional schools, and that unique partnership remains active to this day as represented by the project’s two co-chairs.