Monday, June 21, 2021
The RP Group

 Program Overview

Leading from the Middle (LFM) is a leadership development program focused on developing and equipping middle leaders from California Community Colleges (CCC) with skills and strategies to “lead from the middle.” Grounded in a project- and problem-based learning model, campus-based teams composed of faculty, administrators, classified professionals, and researchers engage in collaborative learning to explore and apply effective strategies to advance lasting student-centered reform efforts aimed at closing equity gaps in student success and completion at their respective colleges. LFM engages former program graduates to serve as coaches and facilitators to support the learning process. As middle leaders themselves, they bring real world experience, which serves to augment and contextualize the LFM curriculum.

Founded by Robert Gabriner and Laura Hope in 2013, LFM has blossomed into a thriving community of peers, working across the CCC system to support an ethos of collaborative learning, knowledge co-creation, collective leadership for collective action, and a deep commitment to equity and social justice for all people.

 Important Updates - LFM is Taking a Brief Pause

As we all experienced, COVID-19 disrupted the world as we knew it; colleges and LFM had to quickly adapt to the new reality and grapple with the complexity of how to move from in-person instruction to offering courses and services in a virtual environment. During the transition of LFM to an online modality, it became apparent to us that the LFM curriculum reflected the professional development needs of middle leaders leading change efforts in a time of relative stability in the CCC system. Fast forward to 2021, not only are we still in the middle of a pandemic and the severe economic instability that has ensued, we have also experienced a national reckoning around race and the insurrection in Washington D.C. that sought to dismantle democracy.

Middle leaders are now faced with a completely different environment where they must lead institutional reform efforts in a new “normal” that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Given all of these events, LFM began to reflect on whether our program was providing the critical skills and strategies needed by middle leaders to lead in uncertain times -- the answer was both yes and no. LFM is at a crossroads where we need to take time to ensure our program continues to offer the relevant skills needed by middle leaders in CCC to successfully lead transformational change efforts that will ensure students thrive and succeed in our institutions in a time where very little remains predictable.

The RP Group is making a conscious decision to put our LFM academies on hold until fall 2021. Between now and then, we will be evaluating the LFM curriculum and program design, building upon the strong foundation LFM has established over the last eight years, and exploring what additional leadership skills, perspectives, and strategies we need to incorporate.

We look forward to your participation in LFM in fall 2021. Please click here to be added to our announcement list so you can know when we open applications for the fall 2021 LFM Academy. 

For more information or questions, please send an email to Ireri Valenzuela, LFM Director at