Be a Changemaker in Your School by Earning Your Teacher Leader Certificate

This certificate program is scheduled to be revised and is currently unavailable for enrollment.  Check back again in January 2022. Contact Program Coordinator at with any questions, adding "Teacher Leader Certificate" on the subject line.

Take an individual course or work toward earning a certificate with multiple courses!

University of San Diego’s Teacher Leader Certificate is designed to empower teachers to become effective leaders in their current and future schools and/or districts. This multi-course certificate program provides teachers with the leadership skills required in today’s current education climate. Through each of the educational leadership courses, participants will learn about the most pressing educational issues, laws and programs, allowing for the transition into the role of teacher leader- a teacher who is assigned special duties or takes on leadership roles within their school, building experiences for a future career as an administrator.

Who Should Attend

This program is ideal for K-12 teachers interested in pursuing an administrative credential or seeking to increase their leadership role at their schools or districts. If you are a teacher in California, these courses provide preparation to take the California Preliminary Administrative Credential Exam (CPACE). Though the courses use a text based on California law for its comprehensive view, teachers from across the country and even other countries participate in this program. Discussion of other states' and countries' laws becomes part of the learning experience, and participants begin approaching education law from an administrator’s point of view.

Schedule & Fees

Course # Courses (10 units) Duration SP SU FA Fee
EDU-X772I Preparing for School Leadership
(2 units)
7 weeks OFD OFD OFD $445
EDU-X773I Program Evaluation and Improvement
(2 units)
7 weeks OFD OFD OFD $445
EDU-X774I Student Discipline, Intervention & Support
(2 units)
7 weeks OFD OFD OFD $445
EDU-X775I Instructional Leadership
(2 units)
7 weeks OFD OFD OFD $445
EDU-X776I Understanding and Managing Resources (2 units) 7 weeks OFD OFD OFD $445
One Time Certificate Fee $45
Total Certificate Cost (5 courses) $2,270
C = Classroom; OFD = Online Fixed-Date; OSP = Online Self-Paced; IS = Independent Study Self-Paced  *Schedule and fees subject to change

Topics Covered in the Teacher Leader Certificate Program  

  • Legal and contractual obligations around managing human resource administration, including recruiting, hiring, disciplining and dismissal of staff.
  • The philosophies and approach required of a teacher leader and administrator.
  • Strategies and tools for student discipline and support.
  • Development of action plan for schoolwide improvement.
  • Legal requirements and impact of special education rulings.
  • Key legal requirements and limitations regarding student discipline, attendance and due process.

Benefits of the Teacher Leader Certificate Program

  • Become a leadership resource within your school.
  • Broaden your knowledge in anticipation of taking the CPACE.
  • Build a greater depth of knowledge beyond your specific subject area.
  • Increase your educational leadership acumen to position yourself for more advanced positions in your school.
  • Advance up the salary ladder with advanced certifications.

Teacher Leader Certificate Learner Outcomes

  • Understand the topics covered in an administrative program.
  • Familiarize yourself with the resources and tools available to assist you in effective program analysis and school accreditation.
  • Enhance and apply your knowledge about disciplinary issues using real-world scenarios.
  • Gain practical and legal knowledge regarding staff evaluations and instructional coaching to improve the learning environment.
  • Apply decision-making skills with the use of case studies.
  • Effectively communicate a clear vision and goals.
  • Understand the legal liabilities and requirements concerning fiscal and human resource management.

Teacher Leader Certificate Curriculum and Structure

Students may enroll in individual courses and may start in any semester to earn graduate-level extension credits. Each course is seven weeks long and is offered each semester.

The Teacher Leader Certificate curriculum is structured around real-life educational scenarios, where participants are asked to develop what their actionable steps would be in an administrative role. The instructor then engages the class in determining the best course of action, based on what could have or should have occurred, with thorough consideration of educational laws and standards.

Teacher Leader Certificate Requirements

Complete the requirements below to earn a professional Teacher Leader Certificate. The certificate can be completed in as few as three semesters. Read Certificate Benefits and Policy

  • Complete 5 core courses (10 units)

Job Market & Career Outlook for Certificate Holders

The Teacher Leader Certificate Program is designed to help current and aspiring teachers advance their careers in the field of education. This program is an excellent alternative path to become eligible for leadership positions without completing an additional master’s degree in educational administration. With this Teacher Leader Certificate, teachers can consider the further pursuit of leadership positions, such as vice principal, principal or even superintendent. And when in an administrative role, educators can potentially receive higher compensation.

Experienced Instructors

Elloise Bennett M.A., is the primary instructor and creator of the courses in the Teacher Leader Certificate program. Bennett is an experienced teacher, teacher trainer and school administrator. Her areas of expertise include classroom management training, use of data to drive instruction, school improvement and strategic plan development, curriculum planning and development. Bennett’s work with schools has led to campus-wide improvements and increased results on national standardized tests. Schools that have worked with her have been listed in the Top 200 American High Schools in Newsweek Magazine. Bennett holds a BA and an MAT from University of San Diego, and a master's degree in European Art History from the University of London, Royal Holloway.


"Completing the Teacher Leader Certificate has been an important part of my professional journey. After completing the certificate, I took the CPACE exam and passed on the first try. I felt very prepared for the exam and found the course content to be well aligned with the exam content." Angela Sorrem, Deaf Education Specialist, San Diego County Office of Education


The University of San Diego’s Division of Professional and Continuing Education is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – Senior College and University Commission WASC.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is this educational leadership certificate program California specific?

No, what the students learn can be useful in any state, but the book and guidelines they use within the courses are California specific. The CPACE is a California specific exam.

Does this certificate prepare me for the CPACE exam?

Yes, the certificate does prepare students for the CPACE exam.

Can the courses be taken in any order or can I take more than one at a time?

Yes, you can take the courses in any order and you can take more than one at the same time.

Online Learning Information

Online courses offer a convenient, yet rigorous style of learning that allows you to structure your education to suit your schedule while keeping you on pace toward achieving your educational goals. Additionally, USD online courses offer the same high-quality content and expert instruction as courses held on campus.

Technical Requirements:

  • High-speed internet connection
  • Access to Blackboard e-learning platform
  • Compatible web browsers and plugins

Additional Details

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