National Writing Project

About Directors Retreat

The NWP Directors Retreat was a gathering of directors, co-directors, key teacher leaders and NWP staff that was designed to advance the practice of leadership at local sites and to support the development of writing project sites. Held annually over four days, the retreat provided an extended opportunity for writing project leaders to share expertise, connect to the NWP, and make plans to expand the capacity of their sites.

Retreats included:

  • time to reflect and talk honestly about the job of directing an NWP site
  • space for refreshment and renewal in a pleasant retreat setting
  • a community of colleagues and a wealth of strategies for addressing shared concerns
  • tools for strategic planning and site development.


Like a summer institute, each retreat addressed the particular questions and interests of the participants. Areas of focus typically included:

  • revisiting the NWP model and mission
  • strengthening core programs: summer institutes, inservice, and continuity
  • creating, sustaining, and transitioning local site leadership
  • addressing issues of equity, access, and diversity in leadership
  • establishing and maintaining relations with host institutions
  • using budgets as a tool for planning
  • connecting to NWP resources
  • addressing current issues for directors, locally and across the nation.

The mission of the retreat was accomplished if site leaders return to their sites energized and equipped with new ideas for core programs, long-range strategies for site development, ongoing connections to the NWP community, and knowledge of resources that support their work.


Directors Retreats began in the early 1990s as a way for site directors to find that blend of reflective time and exploration of common issues that continues to characterize the retreats to this day. Originally hosted by local sites and leaders, the retreats were offered in northern Arizona and in the Colorado Rockies. In 2001 the retreat was constituted as a national program with a chair and rotating leadership team.

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