Successful leadership in education starts by working directly with students in the classroom. Teachers accumulate years of experience and knowledge on effective educational strategies, tools, and techniques. With this experience, many educators increase their impact when they move into more broadly influential roles within their schools or school districts.

Some eventually leave the classroom for administrative positions, including school principal and district superintendent. Others remain in the classroom but still work to influence curriculum design or team leadership.

Recognizing the need to provide teachers with the knowledge and skills that prepare them for such positions, Merrimack College offers two certificates for teachers motivated to leadership in education.

Merrimack College’s Two Certificates for Leadership in Education

Both teacher leadership certificate programs are available 100% online, giving educators more flexibility in how they complete the certificate programs.

CAGS in Educational Leadership

The online Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in Educational Leadership is designed for teachers with a master’s degree ready to pursue formal leadership positions in schools or at the district level.

Earning a certificate from Merrimack College puts graduates on the path to becoming principals or assistant principals. They may also apply eligible coursework toward earning a Doctorate in Education.

The nine-course, 36-credit program aligns with Massachusetts Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL) tasks. Merrimack College offers four starts per year for the program. Students can finish the program in two years, taking one course per term.

Courses include:

  • Advanced Leadership and Policy in Education
  • Educational Law and Policy
  • Leadership in Observing, Assessing, and Supporting Teacher Effectiveness
  • Leadership through a Vision of School Improvement
  • School, Family, and Community Partnerships
  • Transformative and Collaborative Leadership
  • Instructional Leadership for Diverse Learners

Online Teacher Leadership Certificate

The online Teacher Leadership Certificate program is for teachers wanting to stay in the classroom yet seek more leadership responsibilities in their schools. The program prepares classroom educators with the skills and knowledge to contribute as curriculum coordinators, department heads, instructional coaches, or team leaders.

A master’s degree is not required to enter the program. Students earning the certificate can transfer credits toward a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in leadership. Those with a master’s degree can complete the additional credits required to earn the CAGS in Educational Leadership certificate.

The four-course, 16-credit Teacher Leadership Certificate program has four starts per year. Students can complete the certificate in 12 months or less. The four courses in the program cover a wide range of leadership in education topics.

  • Critical Issues in Education
  • Educational Law and Policy
  • Leadership in Observing, Assessing, and Supporting Teacher Effectiveness
  • School, Family, and Community Partnerships

Why Teacher Leadership is Important

Through their experience in the classroom, teachers have a unique perspective on education that makes them better prepared to become catalysts for change in education. Many educational leaders rise from the ranks of teaching. They work in positions that influence curriculums, budgets, strategic planning, staff development, and more.

Leadership development lends benefits inside and outside the classroom. With these skills in their toolbox, teachers learn new ways to engage their students and are prepared to assume leadership roles in education.

  • Good communication
  • Empathy
  • Cultural intelligence
  • Adaptability or flexibility
  • Self-regulation
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-motivation
  • Creativity
  • Social or interpersonal skills

The certificate programs offered by Merrimack College provide teachers motivated to become educational leaders with a crucial step toward achieving their goals.