The Conference on English Leadership originated in 1968 as the Conference for Secondary School English Department Chairpersons (CSSEDC). CSSEDC was originally formed as a conference devoted initially to concerns of secondary school English Department chairmen. There is a process that takes time to form a national organization therefore, in 1970 CSSEDC became a constitutional committee of the National Council of Teachers of English.
Although CSSEDC started out as a conference devoted to concerns of secondary school English Department chairmen, CSSEDC gradually has broadened its service and its membership to include persons responsible for total English language arts programs in local school districts. The conference welcomes not only department heads, but such persons as language arts coordinators, supervisors, consultants, resource teachers, principals, coordinators, directors of instruction and others.
In 1991 the CSSEDC changed its name to the Conference on English Leadership (CEL). CEL welcomes the involvement of all persons who share leadership concerns and who wish to work with others to seek solutions to problems and to share their special insights with others.
Published four times a year, the English Leadership Quarterly is an aspect of membership which provides both a service and a forum for members' views. Articles, news, reviews, and topical inserts suited to filing and retention for later reference--all are designed in view of the busy lives of local district leaders of English language arts programs.
CEL holds its Annual Convention immediately following the NCTE Annual Convention in November of each year. Because the target audience is relatively small, the conference enrolls from 150-250 persons and provides a person-to-person atmosphere, a sense of involvement, and clear opportunity to interact directly with experts in subject matter and topics touching the processes of leadership.
Membership into CEL is $25 in addition to the cost of NCTE membership ($50). Individuals receive the CEL online journal English Leadership Quarterly, have the opportunity to participate in the program of the Annual Convention, be involved in the governance of the Conference and be eligible to call on other members for help and advice.