Teacher Leader Graduate Program

Education Specialist - Teacher Leader

Teacher leaders perform a wide range of roles to support school and student success. These roles may be formal or informal and can occur in or out of the classroom. UNA offers the Educational Specialist with Alabama Class AA Teacher Leader certification. The Teacher Leader program focuses on developing teachers to guide their colleagues in curriculum development and instructional delivery. It does not prepare teachers to become licensed administrators. The program content is consistent with state and national standards.

Program Rationale:

To enhancing school leadership among teacher leaders in Alabama resulting in the improvement of academic achievement for all students.  Standards for the preparation of teacher leaders reflect the Alabama Core Teaching Standards with program contents focused on supporting the development and improving the practice of shared leadership. Prospective teacher leaders will achieve the following:

  • Work collaboratively with school administrators, colleagues, students, parents and families, and the larger community to achieve school-wide goals.
  • Adhere to the Alabama Educator Code of Ethics and model the use of the Alabama Professional Development Standards when providing learning opportunities for their colleagues. 
  • Understand and be able to support leadership that is shared with all stakeholders to increase student learning.
  • Support the concept and the practice of collective learning with faculties and schools.

Essential Information

Steps for Admission

Phase I. Graduate School Application

  1. Candidates must meet all testing requirements set forth by the Alabama State Department of Education. Contact the UNA Office of Teacher Certification for details.
  2. View program-specific minimum GPA for admission here: www.una.edu/education/graduate-programs.
  3. A master's level professional educator certificate in any teaching field or area of instructional support is required. NOTE: If an individual is admitted to an Alabama Class AA teacher leader program based on a master's level professional educator certificate in a teaching field or area of instructional support from another state, completes the Class AA teacher leader program, and subsequently applies for Class AA teacher leader certification, then the individual must earn at least a Class A Professional Educator Certificate in a teaching field or area of instructional support before applying for Class AA certification.
  4. Minimum of three full years of full-time teaching experience in a P-12 setting.

Phase II. Portfolio

Applicants must submit a portfolio. Instuctions regarding the portfolio can be found at the following link:

The electronic portfolio or questions about the protfolio should be submitted to EdLeaders@una.edu.

The contents of the portfolio will be reviewed and scored by faculty members of the Teaching, Learning,  and Leadership department. The portfolio will count for the final score for acceptance into the program.

Submission of Portfolio by given date:
For Spring ---> October 15
For Fall ------> March 15
For Fall ------> June 15

Phase III. Interview

Candidates are expected to demonstrate appropriate oral communication skills. Each candidate who makes a minimum score of 20 points on the portfolio will be invited to participate in an interview as the final step in the application process. The interview will be approximately 25 minutes in length and will be designed to acquire information regarding the candidate's potential in a number of leadership areas. Each candidate must have a minimum score of 18 points on the interview. A final score of 38 points is required for acceptance into the program. The interview will assess:

  • Understanding of UNA Conceptual Framework
  • Discussion of UNA Conceptual Framework
  • Individual reflections on self-UNA Conceptual Framework parts
  • Structured interview by questions on Instructional Leadership standards

Phase IV. Coursework

Courses Required:

  • EDS 701 Professionalism and Ethics in the School Culture
  • EDS 704 Culturally Proficient Leadership
  • EDS 703 Digital-Age Leadership to Enhance Student Learning
  • TL 710 The Teacher Leader
  • TL 712 Coaching and Mentoring for Teacher Leaders
  • National Board Certification OR EDS 705 NBPTS: Issues & Trends
  • EDS 715 Curriculum Development for Teacher Leaders OR EDS 708 Advanced Curriculum Dev for Teaching & Learning
  • EEX605 Survey of Students with Disabilities (if not previously completed)
  • EDS 709 Applied Research II
  • EDS 702 Applied Research I
  • 6 hours of advisor-approved graduate coursework

Other essential information