Academy History

The Schuldiner/Smollan Leadership Academy (SSLA) is named for the two primary forces behind the creation of the National Association of Enrolled Agents; Syd Schuldiner, EA, served as NAEA’s first president in 1972 and David Smollan, EA, served as the second president in 1973.  Both were instrumental in establishing the founding chapter dedicated to enrolled agents in Los Angeles, CA, which eventually became NAEA.  In 1987, Schuldiner received the NAEA Founders Award.

Upon his passing in 2006, Syd Schuldiner left a significant gift to NAEA in the name David Smollan, EA.  In keeping with Schuldiner’s desire to strengthen the organization, the board of directors used his bequest to establish the Schuldiner/Smollan Memorial Fund and to launch the Schuldiner/Smollan Leadership Academy.  The Leadership Academy trains volunteers for success as leaders of NAEA at the local, state, and national levels.

The design of the program provides necessary organizational training to volunteers to assist their efforts.  Limited enrollment of attendees is purposefully maintained during each session to ensure each attendee receives the type of care and attention that ensure success.  In two days, the program teaches the following in a classroom environment:

  • Leadership
  • Governance and Board
  • Strengthening the Governance Team
  • Successful Board Meetings
  • Committees and Task Forces
  • Financial Oversight
  • Strategic Planning
  • Communications and Public Relations
  • Government Relations and Advocacy
  • Education and Meeting Planning
  • Membership
  • The Future of NAEA
In addition to expert instruction, the attendees break out into smaller groups for a series of practical exercises that replicate real life situations.  Following completion of the program, attendees select a project to complete at the local organization.
“Who is eligible to apply for the SSLA program?”

Board members, Committee Chairs and other NAEA members in good standing who have demonstrated strong leadership qualities. For example, someone who has a strong volunteer and engagement history in an affiliation. Or, someone who shows potential to work at the national level. Each applicant is required to submit a bio and recommendation letter from an affiliate or chapter board member.

"What does the SSLA registration fee cover?"

Attendees pay a $250 registration fee if registered by September 1. After September 1 the cost will be $300. NAEA will cover the hotel stay (excluding incidentals) during the dates of the classes, two continental breakfasts, two lunches, and all books and materials.  Dinners will be on your own, however there is an optional group dinner on the first night of which you can attend at $50 per person.

"When is the next SSLA?"
  • Orlando: Arrival November 12 -  Departure November 14, 2017 - Registration OPEN
  • All attendees are strongly encouraged to attend the NAEA Board meeting at 8:30 AM, November 11

We are currently accepting applications for our November Academy class. Classes are purposefully kept small (15-20 participants), so please, get your application in EARLY.

Download Electronic Application

Download Word Doc 

SSLA Alumni Testimonials

Ann Kummer, EA“I highly recommend this program for anybody interested in NAEA or affiliate leadership. Fantastic experience and yet another opportunity to connect with others interested in making NAEA better and stronger!” - February 2015

Nancy Lyman, EA – “I also highly recommend this program. It will help you, your affiliate and our association be stronger and more professional.” - February 2015

Jeffrey A. Schneider, EA“I am so positive on the SSLA, anyone that wants to succeed should attend a leadership program and the SSLA is a great program.” - February 2015

Laurie W. Ziegler, EA – “Seriously, just do it! You won't be sorry!!” - February 2015

Twila Midwood“I was part of the NM group! It was an awesome experience with great instructors!” - February 2015

Kathy Morgan, EA“Great program. Building affiliates, contacts, and friendships.” - February 2015

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