Candidate School


Network Delaware’s Candidate School is for those wishing to learn what it takes to win elections and be effective public servants. This intensive program immerses participants in the fundamentals of strategy, communications, resource generation, 21st century tools, and tactics.

The Candidate School is co-sponsored by The National Coalition of 100 Black Women - Delaware Chapter, the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, and the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League Young Professionals.

Past speakers have included guest elected officials, campaign managers, and former candidates (e.g. Attorney General Matt Denn, County Executive Matt Meyer, Councilwoman Rysheema Dixon, Councilwoman Jen Wallace, Councilman Chris Hamilton, and School Board member Dr. Adriana Bohm).

Selected participants will develop their skills through group workshops, campaign simulations, and working with guest speakers. Through out-of-class assignments (e.g. readings, videos, and exercises) participants will hone their ability to be successful candidates.

Participants will also work in groups to generate example campaign plans that they will actually practice implementing. The programs ends with final presentation of campaign plan results before a panel of campaign professionals.

This program is for:
Those who want to learn the process of running for office. This program is ideal for those who want to learn more before deciding to run, and for those who have decided to run and want to further develop their skills.

What you'll learn

This program covers 21st century political organizing methods, with a special emphasis on the process to create a grassroots political culture. Through this course, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate why they are interested in running for office  
  • Decide whether they have the capacity and commitment to run in an election  
  • Discuss key principles of effective political campaigns  
  • Discover how to motivate their voter universe and/or constituency
  • Classify the main methods to create a “Win Number”
  • Articulate the primary evidence-based tools to increase voter turnout
  • Identify a compelling message and press strategy
  • Prepare a well-rounded fundraising program
  • Develop strong ties to political constituencies

Program details

  • 4 session program
  • Meets every other Thursday nights from 6pm to 8pm starting on the first Thursday in February
  • $500 (Full and partial financial assistance is available)


Chanda Jackson (Capital School Board)

School Board Member Chanda Jackson.jpg

“I ran for an office prior to knowing there was training available, and I would encourage those interested in running for office to consider attending a training to help prepare you for what's to come. Attending a training prior to running could help tremendously.”

 Sen. Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman 

Sen. Lockman.png

 "We are living in a moment when it's become clear more of us must step up to take a seat in the halls of elected government, so that they will be more representative of the people. Many of us have felt that pull in this moment, but it is so hard to know where to begin, as outsiders. Network Delaware’s Candidate Training School can open that opportunity up to anyone with the drive to answer the call to serve, giving more of us the information and support needed to access the complex process of getting elected."

Sen. Laura Sturgeon

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“As a first-time candidate with no experience working on campaigns aside from phone-banking and canvassing, I found Network Delaware's training programs invaluable. Network Delaware's coaching staff taught me how to form a team, write a plan and budget, and draft a clear message. The plan we created was my guiding star--as long as I was working toward executing it, I felt confident that, win or lose, I would be able to look back without regret, knowing I had done all I could to be successful. Luckily, I won my race, and I credit Network Delaware for their essential role in getting my campaign off the ground.”

Take Action

Apply to the Candidate School by January 15th


  • What if I don’t know whether I want to be a candidate?
    Then this program will help give you the resources to make a more informed decision!
  • What if I have to miss a session?
    Attendance at all sessions is strongly encouraged, however if you need to miss a session please let the program managers know in your interview.
  • When is your next program?
    Depending on interest, we will do another one in the Summer/Fall
  • What financial assistance are available?
    Full and partial financial assistance is available. Please note in your application
  • Who can apply?
    Anyone is encouraged to apply!
  • What is the application process?
    It’s a two-part process. First a written form, and then an in-person interview.