Liberatory Design in Complex Systems
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Upcoming Offerings:

How can we be more courageous and proactive as leaders for equity in a constantly changing environment?

What practices do we need to interrupt now, and how do we strategize for an unknown future?

How can I connect my day-to-day work with long-term systems change given my identity and role?

Whether it’s implementing a district-wide equity initiative, addressing disproportionality in discipline, or redesigning entire schools, many education leaders approach their system’s challenges and change initiatives as complicated problems to solve. But equity challenges are more than complicated – they are complex – so emergent solutions must be found through dynamic interactions of diverse people and networks working together. Leaders in complex systems must be skilled at balancing both technical and relational approaches.

This Institute introduce NEP’s Leading for Equity (LFE) framework and SEA Methods (See, Engage and Act) as way to expand equity consciousness and move beyond a perpetual (and often inadequate) cycles of improvement toward more dynamic approaches to problem solving and decision-making. Participants will explore process and planning tools that can match the level of complexity in their situation and context. Consideration will be given on how to link day-to-day activities with a long-term vision of equity, even in a changing and unpredictable world.

In collaboration with the Stanford’s K-12 Lab, we have prototyped a design approach—Liberatory Design—that meshes design thinking with an equity lens and complexity stance. The third day centers on Liberatory Design and how to actually approach equity- and complexity-informed design work in your system.

Participants will:

  • Develop an understanding of the inherent tensions, contradictions and uncertainty in leading for equity in complex systems
  • Use a complex systems and systemic oppression lens to assess your system’s opportunities and challenges
  • Learn a framework and approach for problem-identification, decision-making, and taking action in your system
  • Reflect on your own leadership, given your identity, role, and responsibilities — and generate ideas about possible next moves regarding an equity challenge you are facing.

Who Should Attend

District Office Managers & Directors, Program Directors, School Leaders, Board Members – anyone charged with implementing significant initiatives or projects involving multiple people and groups.

Participants are strongly encouraged to come with colleagues from the same context.

Readings & Resources


“The National Equity Project has provided an excellent framework for leaders to use in affecting change in an organization. They brought a level of confirmation and inspiration to me as a leader of color. I feel empowered to continue the modern day ‘civil rights movement’ on behalf of our 6 million students in California.”

– Nicole Anderson, Diversity and Equal Access Executive, Association of California School Administrators


Our institutes have very limited capacity to ensure a great experience for participants. As such, they often sell out well in advance. Don’t delay securing your registration! The quickest and easiest way to pay your registration fee and secure your spot is by credit card on Eventbrite.

Online by credit card: Click your chosen date below to register online and reserve your spot today!

If you need to pay by check or purchase order, download and complete an institute registration form and send with check made payable to: National Equity Project, 1720 Broadway, 4th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612.

If you need an invoice generated in order to process payment, download and complete an institute registration form and email to and we’ll return an invoice to you.

Please note, your registration is not complete and your seat is not reserved until NEP receives full payment.

For questions about registration please contact

Cancellations and Registration Transfers

For this institute, we offer a refund for registrants who cancel at least 7 days prior to the event start date. In the event that you register and do not attend, you are still responsible for full payment. You can request a refund directly from Eventbrite or by emailing

We allow registration to be transferred to a different attendee up to 7 days prior to the event. To request a registration transfer, email