What Is the Early Leadership Institute? 

The Early Leadership Institute (ELI) provides an opportunity for District Councils and local associations to strengthen their connection to early career educators in a cohort-based learning journey to address issues of importance to the next generation of Association leaders. 

In participating District Councils, coaches will lead small groups (6 - 12) of ELI fellows through a six-month curriculum designed to follow a path of issue identification to action. 

The ELI program is led in Indiana by HUB Coordinators, who are active members with experience facilitating successful cohorts. ISTA's staff contact is UniServ Organizer Keightley Waiz. 

Information for Fellows

ELI is now accepting applications for 2023-24. 

Indiana's ELI fellows have experienced professional growth and increased confidence, which has led to leadership roles in their local association, schools and districts.

ELI fellows will network intentionally and strategically throughout the six-month program. Fellows will participate in a kick-off event, host sounding boards, interact meaningfully on action-based leadership work, create a Leadership Engagement & Action Project and develop a communications plan for continued fellow engagement after program completion.

ELI Fellow Criteria

Interested ELI fellows should:

  • Be within the first five years of the profession.
  • Be under 35 years old.
  • Represent the diversity within their local association/school district.
  • Show promise and initial interest in future association leadership.

Fellow Fact Sheet Fellow Application

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why would an ISTA District Council participate in ELI?

Each year, 200,000 new educators are hired into schools across the country. Recognizing that many of these educators weren't raised in union households and may have little experience with associations, ELI offers an opportunity for District Councils and local associations to strengthen their connection with early career educators and build for the future.

Who is responsible for ELI activities?

Each District Council will designate a coach to work with each cohort of fellows. Coaches will coordinate and mentor fellows as well as meet with other coaches and hub coordinators monthly.

There must be buy in and program support from the local leadership for ELI to succeed.

Can I be a fellow on my own?

No - due to the collaborative, relational nature of the program, there must be a cohort of at least six fellows to participate. Talk to your local District Council representative or UniServ staff member about starting ELI in your area.

I'm a local president, who can I talk to about starting ELI?

Connect with UniServ Organizer Keightley Waiz at

Program funded and provided in part by the National Education Association.