The Nova Scotia Instructional Leadership Academy is a provincially designed leadership program. To ensure a range of expertise and perspectives, a partnership advisory committee was struck in 2009, including representation from elementary and secondary principals, school boards, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, the Nova Scotia Educational Leadership Consortium, post-secondary teacher education institutions, and the Department of Education.

The committee's first task was to review both the research about best instructional practices and the focus of instructional leadership initiatives across Nova Scotia, Canada, and around the world. The committee discovered that while many jurisdictions have developed programs with a broad focus on educational leadership, very few leadership programs have a laser-like focus on instructional leadership.

Based on these results, the Instructional Leadership Program Advisory Committee developed a comprehensive definition of instructional leadership and descriptive standards of excellence. These form the foundation for the Nova Scotia Instructional Leadership Program and continue to guide program development.