Aspiring Leaders

Empowering Leaders.
Transforming Communities.


The ASPIRING National Leaders Programme is designed for leaders within the education sector who aspire to accelerate their career through growth in their personal leadership capabilities, as well as add value to their teams and colleagues within their school environment. 

We are finding that the cookie-cutter approach [OSFA] to professional development is failing. Less and less is it able to meet the diverse professional learning needs of teachers and leaders. Thus, we have pioneered an adaptive and individualised approach aptly named: Personalised Leadership Pathways (PLP) for each delegate using a combined development platform that focuses on the interpersonal, leadership and professional dynamics associated with a senior leadership position within the education sector.

The programme is delivered over a one-year period (ensuring minimal disruption), it combines vibrant PLG seminars, online learning and networking, and face-to-face contact with an assigned kaiārahi/coach. Participants explore their own strengths, weaknesses and opportunities and how they relate to leadership goals and day-to-day realities within their individual school context.

A key component of the course is the highly interactive online forum which allows participants to share their journey with like-minded educational leaders across the country. This process is enhanced through participant-generated korero that unlocks the existing skills and experience within the group. In addition to delivering vibrant professional development, the programme sets out to create powerful, lifelong networks.


Why have a National Aspiring Leaders Programme?

Growth Culture received feedback following the highly successful nationwide Team Leaders Toolbox PLD which uncovered a significant need for a high performing leadership programme that enables high potential education leaders to engage in an intensive, peer-oriented leadership development experience. Whilst mostly deputy and assistant principals have applied, the course is also open to high performing HODs and Team Leaders wanting to further their career progression.

 The National Aspiring Leaders Programme is based upon a framework that focuses on the interpersonal, leadership and professional development of self and how this relates to their role within their school. The National Aspiring Leaders Programme has a broad focus on educational leadership. Noteworthy, only a small part of the programme covers the administrative side of Principalship. However, these components can be individually addressed as you work alongside your kaiārahi, who are all experienced and highly respected former principals. Delegates must have the full support of their school principal to undertake the programme and lead change appropriate to their school’s values.

In addition to enabling real outcomes for individual leaders, the National Aspiring Leaders Programme is recognised as a unique and innovative programme that contributes in a meaningful way to the realisation of equity in relation to formal educational leadership.

Content Overview

The National Aspiring Leaders Programme is designed to develop leadership focused on improving student learning outcomes in schools.

Aspiring NLP is facilitated by a team of several experienced kaiārahi who are all current or former principals, including Dave Randell, Grant Lander, Dave Bell, Dr. Peter Ferrar, and Pauline Cowens.

The programme also includes:

Regional PLG Workshops

PLG Term One Auckland (TBC), Online


PLG Term One Auckland (TBC), Online

Mentoring Sessions

3 x Virtual mentoring sessions from one of the Emerging Kaiarahi

Professional Readings

Reading [FISH] can be purchased through Growth Culture at PLG1, sourced yourself or issued from the library.


The major elements of the Emerging NLP curriculum are:

  • Interpersonal Leadership
  • Educational Leadership

​E-modules are delivered as three korero per term on our personalised forum which provides an on-going Emerging Leaders professional learning community.

  • Interpersonal Leadership
  • Emotional Intelligent Leadership
  • Generational IQ
  • Knowing Yourself (Strengths Assessment)
  • Mindfulness and Wellbeing
  • Communication Styles / Skills
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Winning with People
  • Educational Leadership
  • Leading from the Middle
  • Cultural Responsiveness Leadership
  • Influence and Consensus Building
  • Leading Effective Team Meetings
  • How to Build a High Performing Team
  • Effective Leadership Administration

Generally, each korero involves a 150 word reflection on a leadership element. Delegates are also encouraged to comment on and provide feedback to team members responses to further deepen the korero and their own thoughts.

Course Costs

Course Costs 2024 Cohort

Cost: $3497 per person 

*prices are GST exclusive

NB: Participants’ transportation costs to PLGs are self-funded and are not included in course fees.

Applications are currently open for cohorts starting in February 2024 (ECE, Primary, Intermediate, and Secondary).

Aspiring NLP is currently not a Ministry of Education funded project, although Growth Culture is a distinguished Ministry of Education Professional Learning and Development provider.

Payment and Refund Policy: Once your deposit has been received your position on Aspiring NLP has been secured. We are unable to refund either the deposit or remove the obligation to make the final payment. This is due to the costs incurred with venue bookings, Kaiarahi employment and the fact that Aspiring NLP will sell out meaning we have turned other delegates away. We are able to transfer your registration to another delegate who qualifies within your school before the 31 January 2024.



Leadership Programmes Director


Mob: 027 560 9400


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