Fostering Urban Leadership

Leadership Development that uses an adaptive leadership framework to empower leaders to tackle seemingly intractable challenges in and with their communities.

Program Overview

The RISE Urban Principal Preparation (RISE UPP) program is a free learning opportunity that aims to create a pipeline for principals and teacher-leaders who are committed to advancing equity in San Diego County’s urban schools. It is made possible through a partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) and Teach for America (TFA).

RISE UPP participants are:
- Current principals with less than five years of experience
- Future principals who have or will have enrolled in an administrative credential program
- Teacher-leaders who are interested in school leadership

RISE UPP group

The program provides a concentrated focus on cultivating an equity mindset for transforming San Diego’s urban schools into places of excellence and innovation. RISE UPP complements administrative credential programs. SDCOE's Preliminary Administrative Services Credential Program provides course completion credit to participants, which means fellows will receive class credit, reducing the amount of time, number of assignments, and cost of the administrator credential.

Longstanding educational research tells us that effective school transformation not only requires principals steeped in knowledge of cutting edge pedagogies and technology, relationship-building inside and outside of the school, conflict mediation, and visionary thinking about preparation for college and career; sustainable school transformation requires leaders who can simultaneously shape, direct, and move stakeholders through multiple dimensions of school change. These dimensions—technical, cultural/normative, and political—require a multifaceted skill set of technical knowledge (e.g., pedagogy, flexible grouping of students, technology), cultural or normative mindsets at the individual and school levels (e.g., asset-based approaches to student learning and teacher support, creating healthy school cultures), and political maneuvering (e.g., relationship-building and engagement, strategic partnerships). Graduates of RISE UPP will be able to leverage their multifaceted technical, cultural, and political skills through an equity mindset to facilitate urban school transformation in San Diego schools.

RISE UPP Fellows will experience:


An active learning environment for exploring cutting-edge pedagogies for engaging students in learning, models of conflict mediation, nurturing healthy school and community relationships, and research-based work on transforming urban school structures, processes, and cultures.


Intensive leadership development around their personal and professional identities as transformative leaders who advance equity in their schools. Participants will engage in deep reflection and action around issues of race/ethnicity, culture, gender/sexuality, social class, language, dismantling educational inequity, and building school structures and processes that lead to educational equity.


Deep engagement in authentic and relevant action research in their schools that is geared toward understanding barriers to educational equity and designing solutions to advance educational equity for underrepresented, students of color.


And much much more

Summer sessions will be from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.

  • July 12-16
  • July 19-23

School year sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. 

  • September 25
  • November 13
  • January 15, 2022
  • March 19, 2022
  • April 16, 2022

Program Overview

Through a partnership with Revelle College at UC San Diego, College/University or CU RISE is a program that empowers students to become conscious individuals to create meaningful change in urban communities. CU RISE is a leadership development program that consists of workshops, experiential activities, and coaching from leadership faculty and RISE Urban Leadership Fellows. Upon completion of CU RISE, a selected number of internships are offered to cohort members in hopes of developing career advancement and giving back to the community.

Thank you to our sponsor, Revelle College UC San Diego


Program Overview

On the RISE is a leadership development program launched in 2017 for high school students from underserved communities. Through a series of workshops and discussions rooted in the same adaptive leadership development strategies core to all RISE programs, participants gain a higher level of self-awareness and an understanding of the relationship between their past and future. The program culminates with a community action project plan and a personal narrative that explores their personal story, leadership experience, and community issues.

RISE Cohort 7 Classroom
ApPly to join

Are you a youth ready to RISE? Join our On the RISE Leadership Program which aims to support youth to discover and deploy their leadership potential.

Apply Now

Program Overview

The RISE Urban Leadership Fellows Program, offered in partnership with the Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego, selects leaders with demonstrated capacity to bring impact and change to urban neighborhoods. RISE Fellows are offered the next phase of their development and training, enabling them to lead more effectively in the face of the complex, contentious, and seemingly intractable challenges present in their communities.

Cohort 8 Schedule: September 2022 - June 2023
Program Orientation – Tuesday, September 6th 6:00PM – 7:30 PM
Forum I - September 23rd – September 25th 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM    
Technical Session I - Saturday, October 22nd 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Forum II - December 2nd- December 4th 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM            
Technical Session II - Saturday, January 21st 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Forum III - March 10th- March 12th 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM    
Technical Session III – Saturday, May 6th 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Forum IV - June 9th- June 11th  8:30 AM - 5:30 PM    
Graduation – Wednesday, June 21st 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

RULFP Prep Application
RULFP Program Overview

Cohort 7 Graduation

Our Cohorts

The RISE Familia

RISE helped me to be transparent in my process. It was really coming in and doing the real work that I believe that we as leaders have to do if we are going to succeed and lead others.

Monica Montgomery
San Diego Council Member District 4
RISE Fellow ‘17

RISE urban leadership program played a significant role in my leadership development. So much of the deep grounding and self-work helped me to work through conflict and show up as my authentic self while doing so. During the past two years of the pandemic, I have helped create spaces of healing and conversation.

Taryell Simmons
HR Services Manager, Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion SD
RISE Fellow ‘17

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