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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
Prior to the pandemic, a previous cohort of Leadership Institute participates in a group activity.
Wanted: A different kind of school leader
Leadership Institute cultivates leaders ready to tackle big challenges
March 15, 2021
There’s never been a better time for the next generation of school leaders to rise to the top and solve the systemic issues that have plagued education for far too long.
ACSA, in partnership with Sacramento County Office of Education, is now accepting applications for the June 2021 cohort of Leadership Institute, which prepares teacher leaders to earn a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential, the first step toward becoming a school administrator.
Program Consultant Michael Roe said Leadership Institute seeks a different caliber of leader. From its inception, the Leadership Institute has sought input from current school leaders throughout the state about the kind of leaders that are needed to solve the big challenges in education. What they’ve said they need is education “disruptors” — candidates who not only know the day-to-day administrative tasks of running a school but those who have the ability to inspire and lead through rapid change.
Now in its fifth cohort, Leadership Institute has helped more than 250 candidates grow in these leadership abilities through face-to-face instruction, online learning and guided fieldwork. Candidates are typically teachers in the Los Angeles, San Bernardino and surrounding Riverside areas who aspire to earn their administrative services credential.
Megan Cotton completed Leadership Institute in the first cohort and is now assistant principal-Special Education at Beaumont High School.
“The personal growth and professional networking I developed through the Leadership Institute is invaluable,” she said. “I highly recommend the Leadership Institute to any prospective administrators looking for practical instruction from highly respected professionals.”
Chelsea Ramirez, assistant principal at Beaumont High School, said the program was essential for the next step in her professional journey.
“To say that the Leadership Institute prepared me for my next role as a site administrator, is an understatement,” she said. “It started the first day, with Dr. Michael Roe presenting to our cohort and igniting the fire and passion for what we do as leaders, and continued with each presenter we learned from, delivering real-world, tangible experiences with thoughtful and thorough conversations.”
Over the course of this 10-month program, candidates look at essential tasks that successful leaders employ with a focus on strategies that achieve results. Courses go in-depth on critical leadership behaviors and systems and how they must interact to create intentional change.
Due to the pandemic, Leadership Institute will begin in a virtual setting and most likely transition to a hybrid format by January 2022, which will involve traveling to in-person meetings in Southern California. For now, that means candidates won’t need to travel to participate in the program, opening up this opportunity to aspiring leaders from Central and Northern California.
Leadership Institute distinguishes itself from Preliminary Administrative Services Credential programs in a variety of ways:
Expert faculty
Leadership Institute’s instructors are current and retired superintendents who have intimate knowledge of the role. Students learn more than just how to pass the CalAPA, they gain insight into solving the biggest challenges in education from leaders who are facing them right now.
Enrollees also know who will be teaching their courses before they even sign up, which is a rarity among similar programs. The June 2021 cohort will be taught by:
  • Dr. Marcus Funchess, Assistant Superintendent, HR, SBCUSD
  • Dr. Suzette Lovely, Retired Superintendent, Carlsbad USD
  • Darren Daniel, Assistant Superintendent, HR, Murrieta USD
  • Dr. LaFaye Platter, Retired Deputy Assistant Superintendent, HR, Hemet USD
  • Kenn Young, Retired Superintendent, Riverside COE
  • Dr. Martinrex Kedziora, superintendent, Moreno Valley USD
  • Dr. Bob Taylor, Superintendent, Walnut Unified
Start leading sooner
While traditional programs take around 16 months, Leadership Institute is a 10-month program suited to working professionals. Sessions take place every other Saturday, totaling 154 hours of in-class instruction (online until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted) and 77 hours of online chats over the course of the year.
Customized experience
The Leadership Institute goes to great lengths to customize the learning experience for candidates. Before being accepted to the program, each applicant undergoes an interview where staff gets to know the candidate and their career goals. This is an essential component where the candidates' goals are aligned with faculty support who has experience in those specific areas, such as special education, activities, athletics, facilitation and equity.
“LI’s intentionality with matching each instructor to the cohort’s content made listening to a full day of instruction seem like it was only minutes,” Ramirez said.
Get the edge on hiring
The program gets to the heart of what school leaders need to know in their first year, which makes them desirable candidates during hiring. Leadership Institute’s facilitators seek input from districts on what skills they are looking for in site leaders, and adjust the curriculum and faculty accordingly.
“The access to establishing professional relationships with those in high level county and district positions, who could essentially be hiring us, I have not seen in any other admin program,” Ramirez said.
Help build the bench!
Do you know an aspiring leader who is ready to take the next step in their journey? Make sure they know about Leadership Institute (LI). Find more information at Applicants are encouraged to contact Leadership Institute support staff at prior to applying. Deadline to apply has been extended to April 30.
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