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Department of Teaching & LearningTeacher Leadership

Our Mission

The purpose of this certificate is to prepare educators as teacher leaders in school settings. Graduates of this program will have training in how to mentor and coach teacher candidates, novice, and experienced teachers; operate as curriculum leaders at the school and division level; provide effective professional development and participate/lead professional learning communities; empower stakeholders and advocate for/participate in educational improvement.

Program Overview

The Graduate Certificate in Teacher Leadership helps educators interested in serving as teacher leaders develop their knowledge, skills, and abilities associated with teacher leadership. In this program, teachers develop understandings of the complex practices and ideas associated with supporting teacher learning and professional development. This asynchronous online program can be completed in one calendar year - beginning in June and concluding the following June - and is designed for the practicing teacher interested in exploring their capacity as school leaders, whether they are serving in informal leadership roles such as mentor teachers or curriculum developers; or serving in formal leadership roles such as department chairs, lead mentors, instructional coaches, reading specialists/literacy coaches, math specialists/coaches, instructional technology support specialists, gifted resource teachers, or teacher support specialists, in addition to other informal and formal teacher leadership roles.

Course Schedule

TLED 701: Teacher as Leader

This first course in the certificate prepares elementary and secondary teachers to become facilitators of change in schools and communities. They explore various leader roles in the K-12 context, including exemplary and critically minded practitioner, curriculum decision-maker, researcher, advocate, and facilitator of job-embedded professional development. As part of the course, teachers develop an action plan, in consultation with their school leaders, that can be enacted during the school year. This course is taught July to August each year.

TLED 702: Coaching and Mentoring

This course prepares teachers to be effective coaches of teacher candidates and inservice teachers in K-12 settings. They will develop understandings of student-centered, evidence-based models of coaching and mentoring, and acquire specific knowledge and skills of effective coaching and mentoring. As part of the course, teachers are expected to serve in a coaching or mentoring capacity, to a teacher candidate (practicum student or student teacher), novice teacher, or professional colleague. This course is taught September to December each year.

TLED 703: Curriculum Leadership

This course prepares teachers to enact dynamic curriculum leadership. They will explore curriculum as a design for learning, a set of school experiences based on goals and values, that take into account diverse learners and other stakeholders, including families and communities. In this course, teachers are expected to engage in curriculum development or leadership at the school or division-level. This course is taught January to May each year.

TLED 704: Collaboration and Advocacy

In the final course in the program, teachers develop their skills in facilitation, collaboration, and advocacy at the school, division, and community levels. Emphasis is placed on engaging with diverse stakeholders through culturally responsive means to foster student academic achievement. In this course, teachers complete and present their teacher leadership action project.

How to Apply

Complete an application as a non-degree graduate student for the graduate certificate in teacher leadership. Applications are due by March 1st with decisions made by April 15th each year.

To be admitted in the program, you must:

  • Submit a completed online application and pay an application fee
  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Hold a valid Virginia professional teaching license or an equivalent from another state
  • Have successfully completed three years of teaching in private or public school
  • Submit official copies of all transcripts of undergraduate and graduate coursework and degrees to Graduate Admissions
  • Submit a letter of recommendation from a school or division administrator noting support for enrollment in the certificate program
  • Submit a written essay (approximately 500 words) describing their interest in teacher leadership and their recent experiences as a teacher leader

Before completing an application for the Graduate Certificate in Teacher Leadership, you are encourage to meet with the program coordinator to discuss application and enrollment guidelines. If you are a current

School divisions interested in creating a standalone asynchronous cohort for their teachers or in an alternative format (hybrid, face-to-face, site-based) are encouraged to contact the program coordinator to discuss programming options.

Program Contact


Brandon Butler

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