Tools & Training




Texas Authorizer Leadership Academy (TALA) Program

Now accepting applications for Cohort 1! Apply here by September 16, 2019.


Authorizing is the process Texas school districts use to launch a Call for Quality Schools, set academic and operational expectations for each partner school, and oversee performance. When done well, districts use authorizing to ensure charter schools have the autonomy to meet student needs, while also making sure each school is succeeding.


The Texas Authorizer Leadership Academy (TALA) flagship learning opportunity is a five-month in-person and virtual program designed to orient district leaders to best practices in charter school authorizing, support their growth as leaders of change in their districts, and develop a strong network of Texas district authorizers.

The academy is part of TEA’s larger TALA initiative, which supports System of Great Schools (SGS) districts as they plan and execute bold school actions such as 1882 partnerships.  Created in partnership with and facilitated by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), TALA includes authorizing tools and resources, on-line learning modules, and the in-person academy to help district leaders and staff ensure the quality and ongoing effectiveness of all schools.

Who is the ideal candidate for the in-person Authorizer Leadership Academy?

To be eligible to apply for the Authorizer Leadership Academy, you must:

  • Work in an authorizing office/ Office of Innovation in a Texas independent school district, or be a System of Great School implementer

  • Be able to attend all scheduled meetings of the Authorizer Leadership Academy:

  1. November 7-8, 2019 (In-person*)

  2. December 3, 2019 (Virtual)

  3. January 13-14, 2020 (In-person)

  4. February 11, 2020 (Virtual)

  5. March 9-10, 2020 (In-person)

*All in-person meetings will take place in Austin and start at noon on day 1 and end at 4pm on day 2.

Candidates should have a commitment to the work of authorizing and demonstrate both a track record of taking initiative as a leader and a desire to build upon that experience. While we do not require applicants to hold a particular position, candidates will likely be Chief Innovation Officers (CIO) or direct reports to the CIO in their district and be directly involved with the day-to-day work of charter school authorizing in their district.

Where can I get more information about the program?

All interested parties are invited to participate in an informational webinar on Tuesday, September 3rd, 3-4pm. Register here.

Texas Authorizer Leadership Academy (TALA) Program Overview

Program Goals

The Authorizer Leadership Academy provides district leaders and staff with in-depth, context-specific learning, knowledge, and skills to:

  • Inspire and lead change in their districts.

  • Understand and communicate the unique tensions, opportunities, and distinctions of a district that is both an operator and authorizer of schools.

  • Develop, inspire, and execute a shared vision for quality authorizing within their districts that aligns with professional authorizing standards and leads to more great schools in their communities.

  • Implement core authorizing practices: new school application, ongoing monitoring and oversight, intervention, expansion and replication of quality schools, and closure or turnaround of persistently failing schools.

  • Implement timely solutions to their authorizing challenges.

  • Advocate for policies that support quality authorizing and equitable outcomes for all students.

  • Remain committed to quality authorizing by building their resiliency in the face of challenges.

What to Expect

  • Engaging professional development sessions led by leaders in authorizing.

  • Concrete tools and resources that participants can apply immediately in their practice.

  • Ongoing developmental feedback and strategic support through working with national leaders in the field. 

  • A cohort model of approximately 18 SGS district leaders and staff to leverage relationships and collective experiences and develop enduring relationships for ongoing support and learning.

  • Access to coaches, both in-person and virtual, to support specific problem solving and other emerging authorizing issues/needs.


Questions? Contact David Greenberg (NACSA):  davidg (at) or Chris DeWitt (TEA): christopher.dewitt (at)

To apply for TALA: Please complete the TALA Application by September 16, 2019.

System of Great School Overview

The System of Great Schools addresses the structural changes needed for a district to:

Better manage school performance

Expand great options for kids and families

Ensure equitable access to great school options for all kids and families

Create new organizational structures to ensure success and sustainability

If your district is interested in any of the above topics, the below roadmap will be useful to you.



Year 1: Roadmap

To support districts on the System of Great Schools strategies, TEA has developed a SGS Year 1 Roadmap. The Roadmap takes district teams through a sequence of steps that will build a solid foundation in the first year.


Key Resource for Year 1: SGS Implementation Roadmap (Beta)

This spreadsheet is an integrated project plan that spans across all Year 1 activities, including a suggested scope and sequence and links to additional helpful resources to support and empower Chief Transformation (or Innovation) Officers in leading this work.


Step 1: Understand SGS and Evaluate District Current State

Understand the SGS theory of action and evaluate your district's current aligment against the strategy.


Step 2: Launch SGS Design Team and Develop Plan

Develop an SGS design and launch team to support and drive this work. Identify Year 1 SGS levers to implement and customize the "SGS Implementation Roadmap" (download link above) to align with this vision.



Step 3: Define "Great" and Conduct Quality Seats Analysis

Develop a definition of a Great School and conduct a quality seats analysis to understand where your schools stand.



Step 4: Determine Schools Actions to Take

Develop an annual process to assess how your schools are doing against your definition of a great school. Identify your most at-need campuses and determine what actions to take, including opening new schools and expanding existing ones.


Step 5: Plan and Execute School Actions

Take school actions, including by conducting a Call for Quality Schools to identify high quality partners, adopting rigorous authorizing policies, and providing internal teams with design and implementation support.



Step 6: Align Talent and Central Office to Support Schools

Develop talent pipelines to support existing and new schools and organize talent systems to attract, develop, and retain high quality teachers and leaders. Ensure the central office is aligned to support schools.