Prepare Yourself for a Leadership Role as a Teacher Leader

Young female educator ready to take on Teacher Leadership roles as a teacher leader, representing the Teacher Leadership Certificate Program

The University of San Diego’s Teacher Leadership Certificate program is designed to empower teachers to become effective leaders in their current and future schools and/or districts. The curriculum focuses on developing leadership skills to contribute to teacher/student/school success.  This three-course certificate program provides participants with skills, tools, and strategies to prepare for the transition to the role of teacher leader, and possibly building experiences for a future career as an administrator, or for existing teacher leaders and administrators that want to hone their leadership skills to bring to their current positions.

The Teacher Leadership Certificate is offered and facilitated by the Division of Professional and Continuing Education and offered completely online in our self-paced format allowing for convenience and flexibility.

Who Should Attend

This certificate program is for those that are interested in Teacher Leadership.  This includes:

  • Educators in the K-14 setting that seek additional opportunities for growth and leadership outside of the classroom
  • Those teachers that are considering a future career as an administrator and who want to start building their leadership experiences
  • Current teacher leaders and/or administrators that want to hone their leadership skills

The courses in this certificate program receive graduate level extension credits from the University of San Diego.  These credits are designed for professional growth and salary advancement (if applicable) and are currently not accepted toward a degree or credential program at the University of San Diego.

Schedule and Fees

Required Courses with Links for Enrollment
(9 Units)
Duration SU FA SP Fees*

EDU-X782R, Discovering Your Leadership Potential - Coming May 2022!
(3 units)

Up to 6 months





EDU-X783R, Leadership at Work - Coming Fall 2022!
(3 units)

Up to 6 months





EDU-X784R, Reflecting and Partnering as a Leader - Coming Fall 2022!
(3 units)

Up to 6 months





One Time Certificate Fee is required, payable at first course enrollment $45
Total Certificate Cost (3 courses) $1,695
C = Classroom; OFD = Online Fixed-Date; OSP = Online Self-Paced; IS = Independent Study Self-Paced
*Schedule and Fees are subject to change.

Topics Covered in the Teacher Leadership Certificate Program  

  • Leadership strengths, leadership styles, leadership opportunities
  • Developing coaching habits and how to grow a peer's skillset
  • Fostering Collaboration
  • Crafting meaningful Professional Learning experiences
  • Developing vision, mission and goals
  • Efficient leader skills/strategies
  • Communication skills, including having difficult conversations
  • Time Management, finding balance
  • Planning school or district initiatives, and carrying through with your goals
  • Feedback loops, and responding to input
  • Design Thinking for leaders
  • Reflecting on your practice
  • Building effective teams and your Professional Learning Network
  • Resume building, interviewing, and developing your digital portfolio

Benefits of the Teacher Leadership Certificate Program

  • Become a leadership resource within your school
  • 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
  • Potential advancement on the salary ladder with a new role

Job Market & Career Outlook for Certificate Holders

The Teacher Leadership 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 Leadership Certificate, teachers can consider the further pursuit of an administrative credential for a future career as a vice principal, principal or even superintendent. And when in an administrative role, educators can potentially receive higher compensation.

Experienced Instructors

Tiffani Brown, M.A. in Teaching and M.A. in English Literature and Film Studies, developer of this certificate program/instructor, is an educator with over fifteen years of experience in the public school system. Tiffani is the Director of Instructional Technology in the Grossmont Union High School District. She has also served as a Vice Principal in the Santee School District. Prior to this role, Ms. Brown served as a Curriculum Resource Teacher on Special Assignment in the Santee School District where she focused on the creation and implementation of rigorous, innovative curriculum as well as the implementation of Santee’s first 1:1 iPad program. Additionally, Tiffani is a Google Apps for Education Authorized Educator and Certified Trainer, and the President of San Diego CUE. Areas of passion and expertise include Personalized Learning, Student Choice, and Educational Technology.

Alicia Johal, MEd, is the Middle School Dean of Academics at the San Diego Jewish Academy. Her experience spans 10 years in public and private schools as a science teacher, department chair, curriculum writer, district robotics coordinator, new teacher induction mentor and assistant director of innovation. Alicia is the co-founder of the Inclusive STEM & CS Summit, and also teaches graduate and undergraduate students at local universities in credential and master’s programs. She presents nationally on the topics of science literacy, standards based grading, inclusive STEM programs and equitable educational technology.

JoHanna Simko, MEd, is proud to work within the innovative Cajon Valley School District as the Principal at Los Coches Creek Middle School. She is a veteran teacher with over 25 years of experience working in public and charter schools in San Diego County and Los Angeles. JoHanna has served as a classroom teacher for over 12 years, an instructional coach supporting new teacher development at the esteemed High Tech High Chula Vista and as a technology consultant preparing veteran teachers for the transition to modern teaching integrating technology into their practices.


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 teacher leadership certificate program California specific?

No, what the students learn can be useful in any state.

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

Because the content of each course builds upon the previous one, we recommend that you begin with EDU-X782R Discovering Your Leadership Potential, and then move on to the next two in order.

Does this certificate program apply toward an administrative credential?

The Teacher Leadership Certificate program allows participants to develop skills and build leadership experiences but it does not lead to an administrative credential at the University of San Diego.

Online Learning Information

Online Self-Paced 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. You have up to six months from enrollment date to complete each course.

Technical Requirements:

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

Program Details

Complete the requirements below to earn a professional certificate in Teacher Leadership. The certificate can be completed in less than 6 months. Read Certificate Benefits and Policy.

  • Complete 3 required courses, EDU-X782R, EDU-X783R and EDU-X784R (total of 9 units)

Enroll in this certificate program, by registering for the first course, EDU-X782R.  The certificate fee ($45) is automatically added to this first course. This certificate program has three courses where the content of each progressively builds upon the next.  You will take each course one after the other, in order.  Earn graduate level extension credit in semester hours.

  • Identify your "leadership why" as well as understand how healthy and efficient leadership practices can affect school culture and student outcomes
  • Create meaningful Professional Learning opportunities that advance the goals of the school and staff
  • Be prepared to apply for Leadership opportunities with a completed Resume, Mock Interview Experience, and a capstone Digital Portfolio

Additional Details

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