Since 1981, The Leadership School has been empowering youth and the adults who affect them to contribute positively to society through our experiential approach to social-emotional learning. The program has evolved in name and offerings, and after 40 years has wholly embraced Dick Kennedy’s philosophy that, “all children are at promise” and “that we do the greatest good when we teach the teacher.”

TLS serves over 5,000 students and educators a year ranging from Baltimore, Maryland to Fort Kent, Maine. Through TLS Residential, Outreach, EIR, and EASEL programs, participants build healthier, stronger, and more socially-emotionally competent relationships, all while broadening and raising the aspirations of the students we serve.


The Leadership School consists of four programs that promote KWE’s experiential approach to social emotional learning. TLS Residential programs range from one and two-night school retreats to week-long intensives that fully enable every participant to explore who they are and build healthier and stronger relationships with their peers. Our Outreach programs bring the same curriculum and approach to learning of our residential program directly to your school, wherever you might be.

In the winter, our Educator in Residence program partners with Maine schools to bring our Educators directly into your classroom supporting everything from core curriculum instruction to extracurricular programming. And throughout the year EASEL- our experiential approach to social-emotional learning- programs are available to educators who want to find creative ways to make their own teaching more socially-emotionally competent.


Each of our programs is based on our experiential approach to social-emotional learning. Based on the five CASEL competencies- self management, self awareness, relationship skills, social awareness, and responsible decision-making- every student and educator we work with has opportunities to engage and learn through activities that build skills which go far beyond the traditional content explored in their classrooms.

For those schools who visit our campuses, we go further in building these competencies by pushing comfort zones on our incredible ropes courses and climbing walls, and we reflect more deeply through low ropes team-building and through our nature curriculum that promotes environmental stewardship both at KWE and beyond.

“… and sometimes I wonder what the whole world would be like, if every person on earth wore a nametag, and picked up two pieces of trash after meals. What if lights out for all was at 9pm and wake up at 7, and if everybody showered on a regular basis for under 3 minutes a day… What if every child had a harness, a rope, and a belay team strapped to them before going out in the world and we all played hard, played safe, and played fair… and everyone in the whole world received 3 meals and 3 snacks a day? What would life be like if everyone was treated with kindness and respect… and we all walked our talk? If the good stuff stayed inside our beings and the bad stuff stayed outside, and if at the end of every year, everyone gave each other a put up. What if we could all take a class on relationships? And what if at the end of it all, the whole world could play a great big game, receive graduation certificates, and exit to the sound of applause….”

Adapted by Jess Slavin