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 enhance school leadership among teacher leaders in Alabama resulting in the improvement of academia achievement for all students.  Standards for the preparation of teacher leaders reflect the Model Teacher Leader Standards with program content 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 Ethic and model the use of the Model Teacher Leader 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.


Steps for Admission

Phase I. Graduate School Application

  1. View program-specific minimum GPA for admission here: www.una.edu/education/graduate-programs.
  2. 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.
  3. Minimum of three full years of full-time teaching experience in a P-12 setting.

Phase II. Portfolio

Applicants must submit a portfolio as part of their application package. The portfolio must include the following items:

  1. Letter of Interest: Please include a brief autobiography, brief philosophy on instruction, a brief explanation of goals, a summary of professional development activities from the past two years, reasons for pursuing teacher leader certification, evidence of most recent accomplishments in education and leadership (student organization sponsor, committee involvement, project director, awards, presentations, community service, military service, etc.), and summary of expectations from the teacher leader preparation program.
  2. Current Resume/Vita
  3. Evidence of Ability to Improve Student Achievement
  4. Performance Observation: Completed copy of most recent Performance evaluation/appraisal to include the professional development component (if available).
  5. Three letters of recommendation: One must come from the principal, assistant principal, or superintendent. The other two can be current colleagues.

Phase III. 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
  • TL 715 Curriculum Development for Teacher Leaders 
  • 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

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