Shared Services from AML

NACo High Performance Leadership Academy

In partnership with the National Association of Counties, Professional Development Academy offers practical and empowering leadership training to government officials.
The 12 week, 100% online program is a mix of independent learning and virtual group discussion focused on essential leadership skills for employees in local government. The Academy is designed for current or emerging leaders, particularly those who manage teams or are preparing to in the future. The NACo High Performance Leadership Academy is a resource that connects your staff with practical leadership training. HPLA uses an innovative, interactive online learning platform that combines real-time webinars, recorded sessions and small group discussions to deliver effective training without traveling away from the city or borough – saving money and maximizing time.

Who should participate?
Anyone in local government can participant, but HPLA is designed for entry- to mid-level municipal staff, especially those currently are, or planning to be, in management roles.

What is the time commitment?
HPLA is built to accommodate busy work schedules with self-paced learning. Each 12-week HPLA course is divided into weekly modules. Each module includes a one-hour live webinar and one-hour breakout discussion, plus daily assignments ranging from 3-35 minutes. The live webinars are recorded, so there is no need to worry if you can’t make them all.

Participants will join small cohorts of those in similar positions from elsewhere in the country. They will be able to build their professional network, receive support from peers facing similar challenges and opportunities and celebrate successes.

“I was grateful for the opportunity to connect with other leaders across the country and our weekly sessions were quite valuable.”

– Colt Chase, City of Fairbanks

“The individual cohort weekly meetings were the most invaluable part of this program. Meeting and connecting with peers on the weekly topics allowed me to delve deeper into my own leadership style and business landscape.”

– Kimberly Rash, Municipality of Anchorage

“This program has helped me with my newly appointed position. I have already started using my weekly trainings in my everyday work”

– Jackie Wilde, City of Whittier

2024 Cohort Dates

Launch Credentials Last Day to Register / On-Boarding Kick-off Graduation
January 12/15/23 12/20/23 1/8/24 4/12/24
April 4/5/24 4/10/24 4/22/24 7/26/24
August 7/19/24 7/24/24 8/5/24 11/8/24
September 8/30/24 9/4/24 9/16/24 12/20/24
Interested in enrolling? Contact our Academy representative, Sarah Bruck to discuss further, to ask for an enrollment form, or to request regular updates for your team.


HLPA Graduates can earn continuing education credits eligible for the following institutions:

  • (45) Society for Human Resource Management
  • (24) International Association of Assessing Officers
  • (48) International City/County Management Association
  • International Institute of Municipal Clerks
    • (8) Certified Municipal Clerk Experience
    • (8) Master Municipal Clerk Advanced Education, or
    • (8) Master Municipal Clerk Professional Contribution

For HPLA enrollees’ managers
Managers will receive regular dashboard reports outlining the progress of their staff. Managers are encouraged to advise and support participants with content as it relates to individual development plans.

When is the next cohort?
NACo is continually enrolling participants. Email Sarah Bruck to learn about the next program start.

What is the cost?
Alaska Municipal League Members can enroll staff at a discounted rate of $1,995.

  • First-time Enrolling County/Borough: first participant can enroll for $1,000 rather than $1,995.

Testimonials from Alaskans

Haines Borough, Fire Chief: “I did not know how desperately I was treading water as a department head until this course. I was so busy trying to keep everything afloat that I could not see the gage was bouncing on empty. This Academy has been a Godsend! I am soaking everything in and am eager to advance on a new vector, raise the bar and aim for excellence.”

Petersburg Borough, Parks & Recreation Director: “For me, this was affirmation as to how I lead – plus a lot more!! It was also helpful in so many ways (networking, new ideas, hearing others with the same issues), and every course was completely relevant to current happenings – it could be used all the time, anytime.”

Saint Paul, City Manager: “I think the most valuable aspect of the program was the focus on ‘it’s all about people’. Sometimes we get wrapped up in reports, data, and other aspects of our jobs and forget to connect with our people. This program reminded me to take the time to focus on working with my team.”

The Professional Development Academy has had a positive impact for me personally and to my career. It stressed the importance of building an atmosphere of trust within the organization; to empower employees so they feel engaged and productive; to renew focus of the Borough’s mission and to revisit and reestablish the Borough’s core values and most importantly the need to stay positive.

Anne Bailey, Administrator, Aleutians East Borough


The primary area that I have incorporated this material into would absolutely be change management. Although I have a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and have taken several Project Management courses, the information presented on this topic was refreshing and helpful. I now take a slower approach to change management and spend more meaningful time and energy on communicating the WHY in any change implementation. I have already started to see the benefits on this approach in many of the projects I am working on here in Seward.

Stephen Sowell, Assistant City Manager, City of Seward