The Educational Leadership program at Montana State University is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) as well as by the Montana Board of Public Education.  The focus of the program of this certificate is to provide professional development to K-12 teachers in the areas of enhancing and evaluating teaching and learning, instructional and institutional leadership in schools, and resources for enhancing equity in schools.

The Teacher Leadership Certificate is a 15-credit certificate designed to provide MT teachers with coursework and professional growth opportunities to enhance their instructional capacity and leadership contributions to their school communities. Teachers in many school districts are often asked to take leadership roles including dean of students, instructional coach, and department chair. Often, teachers receive no specialized training to help them in their new teacher leadership roles. The Teacher Leadership Certificate includes coursework and experiences that address general school law, special education law and policy, school finance, teacher mentoring and instructional coaching, data analysis, diversity and equity considerations, and school culture and school improvement.

This certificate can be completed in 2-4 semesters depending upon courses chosen for an individual student’s Program of Study. It is designed as a “stackable credential” so that students can apply this certificate to the M.Ed. Principal Licensure program and complete their principal licensure with an additional 2-3 semesters of coursework and field experiences. 

This program of study has been developed to continue the professional learning of new teachers and to ready teachers for opportunities in various positions of school leadership, including instructional coaches, department chairs and deans of students.  Using a blended delivery model, it seeks to meet the needs of students who desire convenience and face-to-face interaction. This program is offered more than 80% online.  Courses will be delivered using distance educational methods during the school year. During the summer, students will meet on the Bozeman campus for face-to-face instruction. The one to two week face-to-face instruction will usually take place during the latter weeks of June or early July.

Program Flow

The ideal time to begin the Teacher Leadership Certificate program is Spring Semester. Students are expected to take coursework in the sequence outlined in their individual Program of Study. Developing a learning community is a critical aspect of principal preparation and teacher leadership. To enhance the development of a learning community among the students and to facilitate learning by offering an integrated curriculum, students will be placed into a cohort based on year of acceptance into the program and will matriculate together.

Teacher Leadership Certificate Program of Study

Course Number
Course Title
Course Credits
Law Core - 3 credit hours – Choose 1 course from the following:
School Law
Administration & Supervision of Special Education Programs 
Leadership Core - 3 credit hours - Choose 1 course from the following:
Foundations of Educational Leadership
K-12 Instructional Leadership
Evaluating Teaching and Learning Core - 6 credit hours - Choose 2 courses
Supervision of Instruction
Mentoring New Teachers
Advanced Educational Psychology
Assessment and Evaluation in Education
Resources and Equity Core - 3 credits hours - Choose 1 course
Planned Change
Schools and Diverse Communities
School Finance
Reflective Inquiry in Rural Education
Total Credits

* Substitute courses may be approved by graduate advisor  based on
area of specialization.


Students in the Teacher Leadership Certificate program will be assigned an advisor. The advisor will guide the student's course selection and progress toward certificate completion including the submission of the student's Graduate Program of Study form.

Contact Information

Dr. Jason Cummins, Program Leader  and Assistant Professor 
Phone: 406-994-4142 Email: [email protected]

Dr. Bill Ruff, Professor 
Email: [email protected]

Department of Education

Main Office

250 Reid Hall
P.O. Box 172880
Bozeman, MT 59717-2880

Telephone: (406) 994-6501 
Email: [email protected]

Undergraduate Programs

132 Reid Hall
P.O. Box 172880
Bozeman, MT 59717-2880

Telephone: (406) 994-1880
Email: [email protected]

Graduate Programs 

215 Reid Hall
P.O. Box 172880
Bozeman, MT 59717-2880

Telephone: (406) 994-6786
Email: [email protected]