About us

Closing the achievement gap is necessary and possible

At the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL), we believe that all students can achieve at high levels. We know that the achievement gap can and must be closed — it’s a matter of equity — and we have identified what it will take for every student to succeed. The secret? A combination of instructional quality and teacher support from district and school leadership.

We are nationally recognized experts, with proven results. In school districts across the nation, CEL educators and trainings have helped close the achievement gap by putting knowledge and skills that improve instructional effectiveness into the hands of classroom teachers. We work with the entire system, including the district office, the school level and the classroom, to ensure everyone is working as a team to improve teaching effectiveness.

What We Do

Our Roots in Education Go Deep

The Center for Educational Leadership was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit service arm of the University of Washington College of Education, one of the top education schools in the country. Our faculty, staff and consultants come from research institutes, state education offices, school and district administration offices and K-12 and college classrooms.

Our History

An Unwavering Mission

We are dedicated to eliminating the achievement gap that continues to divide our nation’s children along the lines of race, class, language and disability.

CEL’s Stance on the Achievement Gap

The elimination of the achievement gap is at the core of our mission here at the Center for Educational Leadership. This is the gap that for decades has represented disparate learning outcomes for many students of color, students living in poverty, students whose first language is not English, and students with special needs when compared with their counterparts. We believe that these gaps can be eliminated when all students have:

  • Full access to quality learning experiences and powerful instruction daily.
  • Grade-level instruction on curriculum that is aligned to high academic standards.
  • Engagement with rigorous content and intellectual work.
  • Learning experiences that build on their culture, their personal experiences, and their learning and performance styles.
  • Engagement with authentic learning that builds their capacity to think critically, to use knowledge to create new knowledge, and to apply learning to real-world problem solving.

The research is clear and conclusive. The teacher is the most influential factor on student learning, and students must experience quality teaching consistently from year to year and from classroom to classroom to attain and sustain high levels of achievement.

At CEL, we use a number of research-based tools and processes as we work with leaders at all levels of the educational system — the state, the central office or management organization, the school, the classroom — to support the development of instructional leadership to further our mission to eliminate the achievement gap.