Our Academy provides a place for teachers and administrators to connect with each other, learn how schools can contribute to students character development, and understand why good character is essential to their success in life.

See below to apply for the 2018/19 Academy.


Already completed Year 1 of the Academy?


The 2018/19 Academy


The Hope Institute provides a six-session leadership academy followed by onsite consulting for school leaders that includes:

  • Starter library of books by national and local authors

  • Peer networking with leaders from public and private schools

  • Series of monthly full day workshops led by recognized experts

  • Time for school teams to collaborate on a school plan for implementation

  • Site visit to national award winning schools and presentations by those principals

  • State PLU awarded for completion of the six sessions

Topics Include: creating a foundation (core values, norms, mission, vision, create common language), understanding character development (cognitive, emotional, and behavioral), creating a caring school community (student voice and student engagement), and assessment of school culture.



Regions Room at Samford University

Cooney Hall (Brock School of Business)

800 Lakeshore Drive

Birmingham, AL 35229



October 30, 2018

January 15, 2019

February 5, 2019

March 5, 2019

May 7, 2019

July 2019 TBA


8:00 am - 3:00 pm


Registration fee is $500 for a school team of four to attend all six sessions of the academy. 

The fee covers only a small portion of the total cost to the Hope Institute.


The Speakers


Thomas Lickona, Ph.D.

Dr. Thomas Lickona is a developmental psychologist and professor of education emeritus at the State University of New York at Cortland, where he directs the Center for the Fourth and Fifth Rs (Respect and Responsibility). A past president of the Association for Moral Education and Board member of Character.org, he speaks around the world to teachers, parents, religious educators, and other groups concerned about the character development of young people.


Amy Johnston, Ed.D.

Amy Johnston spent 31 years in the field of education and earned Master's Degrees in both Education Administration and Counseling and an Ed.D. in Character Development and Democratic School Governance from University of Missouri - St. Louis.  In 2001, Dr. Johnston became interested in character education & spent a year with Dr. Berkowitz in his Leadership Academy in Character Education. She currently serves as Instructor in educational leadership at UMSL and provides professional development for Educationplus and Character.org.


Drayton Nabers

Throughout his 50-year law career, Drayton has served as CEO of Protective Life Corp., Finance Director for the State of Alabama, and Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He is currently the Director at the Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership at Samford University, which promotes student development and enriches teaching and scholarship through engaged learning. He has authored two books on ethics and leadership: The Case for Character and The Hidden Key to Happiness.


Liz Huntley

Elizabeth “Liz” Huntley is an accomplished litigation attorney, dedicated child advocate, author and lecturer. She currently practices law at Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC in Birmingham, Alabama. Liz speaks to groups of students and educators nationwide, most often about her remarkable life story detailed in her memoir More Than A Bird. Her story has inspired thousands of students across the nation as she continues to devote her time and energy toward bringing hope through education.

Marvin W. Berkowitz, Ph.D.

Dr. Marvin W. Berkowitz is the inaugural Sanford N. McDonnell Endowed Professor of Character Education, and Co-Director of the Center for Character and Citizenship at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and University of Missouri President’s Thomas Jefferson Professor. Since 1999 he has directed the Leadership Academy in Character Education in St. Louis.


Ready to apply?

*25 school slots available