The Graduate Certificate in Teacher Leadership is a fully online program for current teachers seeking to develop knowledge and skills for leading instructional and organizational change in the schools and districts where they teach.
Students who successfully complete the four-course sequence will qualify for two distinctions:
- Graduate Certificate in Teacher Leadership from Michigan State University
- Michigan Advanced Professional Education Certificate through the Michigan Department of Education
What is the Graduate Certificate in Teacher Leadership?
Many teachers in K-12 schools take on positions as teacher leaders – such as by serving as mentors to colleagues, grade-level or department chairs, leaders of professional learning communities, members of school-level data teams, or instructional coaches. The purpose of the Teacher Leader program at MSU is to enable those teacher leaders to be as effective as possible in designing and undertaking leadership work that will create meaningful, sustaining change in their schools, districts, and communities.
MSU’s Graduate Certificate in Teacher Leadership supports teacher leaders by helping them develop specific skills and knowledge for leading instructional and organizational change. The four required courses in the Graduate Certificate address strategies for improving teaching and learning in classrooms, supporting the learning and instructional growth of one’s teaching colleagues, and promoting diversity and inclusion in one’s school. In addition, a year-long internship in your current school will guide you through planning, designing, and delivering professional learning opportunities to your colleagues under the guidance of a field-based mentor and your MSU professor.
Who should do this certificate?
The Teacher Leader program is for current teachers who are acting in or aspiring to teacher leadership positions. You must have at least one year of experience teaching in a K-12 school. You will also need access to a K-12 school to complete required coursework and the internship.
Some students might complete the Graduate Certificate in Teacher Leadership as part of a Master’s program in the College of Education. For example, you might be a current or incoming student in the Masters in Teaching and Curriculum program, the K-12 Educational Administration program, or another relevant Master’s program in the college. As a Master’s student, you might already be taking some of the required courses for the Grad Cert, and you could use electives for the other courses. As with your MA program courses, the courses you need for the Grad Cert would need to be completed within a five-year period.
Some students might complete the Graduate Certificate in Teacher Leadership as a standalone program by enrolling as a Lifelong Learner at MSU. In this case, you need to complete all four of the required courses within five years.
All Graduate Certificate students, regardless of your standing in another graduate program at MSU, would need to submit the Intent to Enroll form found below under the question, How do I apply to this certificate program?
What are the requirements to complete this certificate?
The Graduate Certificate in Teacher Leadership includes the following four required courses from the Teacher Education (TE) and Educational Administration (EAD) departments:
- TE 808 – Inquiry into Classroom Teaching and Learning – 3 credits
- TE 812 – Teacher Leadership in Practice (year-long course) – 3 credits
- EAD 824 – Leading Teacher Learning – 3 credits
- EAD 822 – Engaging Diverse Students and Families – 3 credits
Note that the year-long course, TE 812, includes an internship experience, which is typically completed by taking on some responsibilities for leading professional learning in the school where you already work.
What knowledge and skills will I develop?
The content of the Graduate Certificate in Teacher Leadership covers all of the Michigan Teacher Leader Preparation Standards from the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). Our program has been approved by MDE because it addresses and assesses mastery of these standards.
Michigan’s teacher leader standards cover the following topics:
- Standard 1: Promoting a Shared School Vision, Mission, and Goals of Learning
- Standard 2: Fostering a Collaborative Culture to Support Educator Development and Student Learning
- Standard 3: Accessing and Using Research to Improve Practice, Student Learning, and Using Authentic Assessments
- Standard 4: Promoting Professional Learning for Continuous Improvement
- Standard 5: Facilitating Improvements in Instruction and Student Learning
- Standard 6: Improving Outreach and Collaboration with Families and Community
- Standard 7: Advocating for Student Learning and the Profession
What will the internship be like?
If you are currently working in a K-12 school, you will most likely complete your internship in your school. You will complete the internship as part of the TE 812 course, which covers both fall and spring semesters. You will be asked to undertake two major projects in your internship. First, in the fall semester, you will lead a small group of teaching colleagues through a series of collaborative inquiry meetings in which you will collectively work on improving your instruction in one area. Second, in the spring semester, you will develop, plan, and deliver two professional development sessions to a large group of your teaching colleagues. If you are not currently working in a K-12 school, your course instructor will help you find a suitable school for your internship work. All of your internship learning will be supported by your course instructor in TE 812 and a teacher leader mentor at your school.
How much will this certificate cost?
This certificate requires four courses, for a total of 12 credits. You can find the current tuition rates per credit at MSU’s Office of the Controller website (courses for this program are included under “Online Education Masters”).
How long will this certificate take?
You can complete the four courses in whatever time frame you choose. You might opt to take one course at a time. For example, you might take TE 808 in the fall, EAD 822 in the spring, and EAD 824 in the summer. The following year, you could take the internship course, TE 812, across the fall and spring semesters. This approach would take you two academic years and the intervening summer to complete.
Alternatively, you might complete the full program in one year, taking TE 812 alongside your other courses over the course of the first year. In this case, we would recommend starting with EAD 824 in the summer before you enroll in TE 812.
How do I apply to this certificate program?
You can find the Intent to Enroll form (PDF), which includes the application details.
As you’ll note on the Intent to Enroll form, current or incoming Master’s students need to submit a resume and a 1-page statement about why you are interested in the Teacher Leader Program. Students not enrolled in a Master’s program and who are taking the Graduate Certificate as a stand-alone program will need to submit a resume, a 1-page statement about why you are interested in the Teacher Leader Program, and a letter of recommendation from a professional colleague who can comment on your ability to be an effective teacher leader.
When can I apply to this program?
This program has three annual application deadlines:
- Summer Semester Admission: April 1
- Fall Semester Admission: July 15
- Spring Semester Admission: November 1
Once I complete the program, how do I obtain the Michigan Advanced Professional Education Certificate?
The Michigan Department of Education awards the Certificate, and they will require MSU to let them know that you have completed the approved program. You will begin this process by completing the MSU application for additional endorsement via this Qualtrics form.
View more information on the requirements for obtaining an Advanced Professional Certificate on the Michigan Department of Education’s website.
Who can I reach out to for more information?
If you have any questions, please reach out to one of the Teacher Leader Program Directors:
Dr. Kristy Cooper Stein
K-12 Educational Administration
Dr. Joanne Marciano