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Current Academies and Projects

Since 2009, the Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking (CLST) has worked to provide leadership development academies for supervisors, managers, and executives in a variety of different industries, including healthcare and veteran services. Taught by instructors with extensive experience working with leaders across a broad spectrum of organizations, the academies have now expanded.

Specifically, these programs are also open to other facilities around the country (including healthcare), as well as other organizations. Additional questions about these programs should be directed to us at:  [email protected].

Detailed program information

Currently, the program can be offered as three academies (Leadership, Advanced Leadership, and Executive Leadership) developed with specific audiences and learning objectives in mind. Instructors for all three academies are selected by the Center for Leadership & Strategic Thinking based on their expertise to work in each of these respective programs.

This program is for supervisors through executives and includes four one-day classes described below. This will be the first step in the Academy progression and is a pre-requisite for the next level of leadership development – the Advanced Leadership Academy. The Leadership Academy is held at several convenient locations around the United States and can also be held at your own facilities. Participants attend all four days of training, complete web-based development assessments, and receive one-on-one coaching to receive a leadership certificate of completion from the University of Washington’s CLST. As in all of our work at CLST, each class is based on our research findings and best practices in healthcare, as well as many other types of organizations.

Current Academies

Seattle Fire Department (SFD) Executive Leadership Academy

Applications for SFD ELA 2324 are closed. We hope you apply next year!

View a digital brochure overview of the SFD Leadership Academies.

Upon his appointment as Chief of the Seattle Fire Department, Chief Harold Scoggins established leadership development as a strategic priority for the Seattle Fire Department. The Seattle Fire Department has recognized the importance of training and preparing the next generation of leaders in Fire Services and the Executive Leadership Academy plays an important role in focusing on the leadership development of the most senior leaders in King County Fire Services.

Together with an Advisory Board (members listed below), SFD Executive Leadership Team, and key stakeholders, we established the ELA’s existing objectives, curricular content, recruitment, and admissions processes. In addition, we continue to invite feedback from current and former participants in the ELA program (through mid-point feedback forms), Union Leadership, and the Race and Social Justice Team to continually assess and hone our approach towards leadership development in fire services.

SFD ELA Advisory Board members are:

Adrian Shepard Doug McDonald Steve Heitman
Andrea Coulson Glen Albright Thad Hovis
Ben Lane Harold Scoggins Tim Munnis
Bill Hewett Helen Fitzpatrick Tom Walsh
Brad Thompson Jay Hagen Tory Green
Brian Carson Jay Wittwer Wendy Moffat
Bruce Avolio Jimmy Webb William Mace
Bryan Hastings Jon Parkinson
Chris Santos Kenny Stuart
Chris Flores Mark Risen
Christina Fong Matt Cowan
Dave Van Valkenberg Ned Vander Pol
Dawn Judkins Rick LaGrandeur
SFD ELA Participants are expected to commit to the following:

  • We encourage participants to attend all sessions to optimize the learning and development experience. To receive a certificate of completion, participants must attend 80% of in person & virtual workshops: (6-8 sessions, occurring approximately every 4-8 weeks, full days on Friday, with specific dates to be announced in September). Participants should contact the program coordinators in advance to inform them that they will not be able to attend a particular session.
  • Attend the 1-year commencement ceremony in-person on Friday, May 31st, 2024.
  • Complete all psychological assessments (3 occurring throughout the first year, with one assessment involving peer feedback).
  • Complete at least 6 coaching sessions with expert leadership coach.
  • Participate in quarterly team progress reports with the respective Chiefs of participating Fire Departments.
  • Anticipated workload is an average of 1-3 hours/month over 18 months.

Sponsoring Organizations are expected to commit to the following:

  • Pay the full stipend for their participants attending the Academy.
  • Cover time off to attend the Academy workshop sessions throughout the first year.
  • Support for ongoing team projects.
  • Participate in Advisory Board Meetings.
  • Meet with their participants to discuss the progress they are making in the Academy at least once per quarter.

Scheduled Dates of ELA Sessions

Session Schedule (Tentative Dates):
2 Day ELA Kickoff: October 6 & 7
Session 3 – November 17
Session 4 – January 12 (virtual session)
Session 5 – February 16
Session 6 – April 26
Session 7 (Certificate Ceremony) – May 31
Team Touchpoint 1 – September 2024
Team Touchpoint 2 – October 2024
Project Pilot Debrief (Virtual) – December 12, 2024, 9 – 11am

*Note: all dates are tentatively scheduled

Based on the directive provided by the sponsors of the Executive Leadership Academy, we are inviting senior leaders (including non-uniformed professional staff) within all Puget Sound Fire Departments to apply for the fourth offering of the Academy.

  • As part of the recommendation from the leadership of the SFD ELA Advisory Board, this program is targeted towards senior leaders in Puget Sound Fire Agencies. Participants should have experience managing large-scale projects and supervising others in a formal leadership capacity.
  • Leaders within SFD and outside of SFD are encouraged to apply.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important aspects of the Executive Leadership Academy; therefore we encourage women, racial and ethnic minorities, and members of other marginalized groups to apply
  • Non-uniformed/professional staff are also encouraged to participate in the Academy program.
  • Target class size: 28-32 participants per cohort
  • Note: Minimum enrollment sizes for each fire services organization is dependent upon size guidelines.
    • Small organizations (0-100 employees): 1 minimum ELA participant must be enrolled
    • Medium organizations (101-200 employees); 2 minimum ELA participants must be enrolled
    • Large organizations (201-500 employees); 3 minimum ELA participants must be enrolled
    • Extra-large organizations (501+ employees); 4 minimum ELA participants must be enrolled
Each application will be reviewed by the UW/CLST teaching team and scored on developmental readiness for the program. This readiness is assessed by scoring application responses on the following criteria (jointly established by the UW/CLST team and the ELA Advisory Board):

Diversity of Perspectives Do the applicant’s responses show willingness and ability to bring in significantly different points of view? Is the applicant able to engage with diverse groups and solicit a broad range of opinions to find common ground when making decisions? Are the responses supportive of and active proponent of an inclusive work environment, seeking to develop a positive relationship with all stakeholders and constituents?
Developmental Readiness Do the applicant’s scores on the CLST DR assessment show a willingness and ability to learn and lead?
Ability Do the applicant’s responses demonstrate an ability to take other individual’s perspectives and systematically examine challenges and opportunities ranging in degrees of complexity? Do they function as a positive role model for leadership with their peers, leaders, followers and those they impact in the community? Do they demonstrate thoughtfulness about taking the time to make and justify difficult decisions? Do they champion developing leadership in the people they work with in their organization? Do responses indicate that they can build plans and establish goals and metrics to effectively support and evaluate performance?
Motivation Do the applicant’s responses demonstrate a high level of motivation for investing in development while also demonstrating a learning orientation? Does the applicant indicate a desire to seek feedback to enhance leadership potential and question the status quo? Do they seek to improve how they work with others, invest time and energy in developing others, and strive to achieve the most positive impact on the people they lead and serve in the community?
Organizational Citizenship Do the applicant’s responses demonstrate a service orientation and willingness to help others? Is there a demonstrated willingness to subordinate their own needs for the good of others and put in the extra effort needed?


Why was the SFD ELA created?

The ELA was launched approximately 5 years ago, after some discussion with Chief Scoggins of SFD and other Chiefs in the region, who expressed the need for having a dedicated Academy for Fire Services in the Northwest for emerging and senior leaders.

Who do we recruit and select for the SFD ELA?

We seek to recruit those candidates in Fire Services currently throughout Washington State, who are at the Captain level or above or at least on a Captain level list in the process of being promoted. We also have run an Emerging leaders Academy during the pandemic, which we will initiate again as resources permit. In this program, individuals below the Captain level will be recruited.

How many agencies are participating?

This year and last 14 agencies participated in the SFD ELA

What is a typical cohort size?

Applications for 25-33

How long does each of the ELA academies last?

We began with 2 years, but now we have a complete cycle lasting 18 months. The first year, we have 7 sessions, mostly face to face now, and perhaps one virtual, followed in the second year with a continuation on team projects that focus on critical need areas that the teams come up with in their proposals to address. Some of these projects in the past have now been implemented and funded.

Where and how do participants meet?

Participants meet with a professional coach, on average every 1-2 months virtually, to support their development; in 7 workshops spanning the first year, starting 8:00 am and ending 4:00pm. The sessions take place in different locations including UW, sponsoring organizations that host the ELA, e.g., Boeing, Alaska Airlines, Columbia Hospitality Suites, Brooks, Adaptive Biotechnologies, etc. The hosts provide the space, food and drinks and typically have the senior leadership teams come to present a challenge they have for the ELA to consult on in the workshop. This allows the ELA participants to work on challenges outside of Fire Services, but still relevant to their work and leadership development.

What is UW Foster School’s CLST role(s) in the ELA?

The CLST is the agency in Foster that manages this project. CLST staff, Bruce Avolio, Executive Director, Management Faculty and Christina Fong, Associate Dean for Undergraduate programs and Management Faculty, facilitate the ELA sessions, convene the Chief’s Advisory Board, who support ELA candidates and help to shape the experiences ELA participants have in their team projects, workshops, etc. The CLST is responsible for scheduling, logistics, providing materials, coordinating speakers and sites, billing for ELA participants, etc.

How do Chiefs of fire service agencies participate?

They participate in an SFD ELA Advisory Board, providing input into all aspects of the ELA programming and also future developments of the Academy. They help us in recruitment of ELA participants and in bringing in outside speakers. They also are now volunteering to serve as mentors for ELA Team projects, as well as attend workshops to sit in with the group.

What are the main experiences that participants receive in the ELA?

They work on a comprehensive and personalized leadership development plan. They are coached by professional coaches who have worked with the ELA since its inception. All participants receive self and other rater feedback on the readiness to lead, their psychological resources and well-being, and a leadership styles evaluation for multiple sources: Self, Peer, Follower, Supervisor and/or other key stakeholders. They attend Leadership Development Intensives or LDI’s throughout the first year 7 times. They engage in dialogue, small group interactions, presentations, reviewing instructional materials, working on project teams and applying what they are learning to the projects, and an immersion session where we spend the day taking away lessons of crewing on South Lake Union, with professional coaches in that sport.

What makes the ELA leadership development experience unique?

We follow an evidence-based leadership development blueprint that focuses over the 18 months on self, interactive, developmental/generative and strategic leadership. Our work is couched in evidence-based models and methods, which is a signature principle of our work, as well as focusing on making what we present to the ELA relevant to first responders’ development. The CLST is one of the leading Centers in the work for Evidence-based Leadership Development (EBLD).

Interested in applying?

For more questions regarding the SFD Leadership Academy, please contact [email protected]. We also strongly advise you contact your supervisor if you are interested in applying to the SFD ELA. Applications are submitted at the following link: bit.ly/sfdela2023