Overcome Pressing Educational Challenges

Today, leaders in K-12 education must navigate a terrain that includes federal grant requirements, collective bargaining agreements, public relations, statutory shifts, tight budgets, fierce political fights, changing academic standards, and an urgent focus on helping all children succeed. Effective leaders and managers must find new ways to address the challenges and embrace opportunities in the K-12 educational environment.

A Focus on Leadership and Management in Education

The McCourt School’s Certificate in Educational Leadership and Management (ELM) builds the skills and knowledge that local and state leaders need to address large-scale challenges and bring bold and positive change in technology, human resources, school turnaround efforts, innovation zones, teacher quality reforms, and accountability initiatives. Other education leadership programs focus on innovation in pedagogy. In contrast, the ELM emphasizes the management and leadership skills needed to implement and sustain reforms.

The ELM is designed for district and state managers and leaders involved with budgeting, managing human resources, negotiating contracts, writing rules, applying for and adhering to federal grants, or designing and implementing reform initiatives.

Innovative Curriculum Addressing Bold Change

The ELM curriculum is designed to help local and state education officials support and lead improvement efforts. Instruction focuses on finding smarter, more powerful ways to leverage tools, talent, time, and money, within the constraints presented by norms, rules, regulations, contracts, and statutes.

Sample Courses:

Building a Culture of Excellence in School Systems

Drawing on his book Cage-Busting Leadership, author and Georgetown faculty member Rick Hess argues that school, system, and state leaders can do vastly more to improve schooling than they often believe. He explores how instructional and operational district staff can “bust the cage” of rules, regulations, and routines to pursue excellence and make extraordinary instructional possible. Drawing on examples and exercises, he helps participants identify crucial problems, devise expansive solutions, really determine whether there are impediments to those solutions, and figure out how to act on them. The unit sets up other elements of the program, touching on the possibilities of rethinking talent and technology, the smart use of attorneys, and the critical need for instructional and operational staff to work together.

Spending Dollars Smarter

Drawing on her pioneering work on cost-effectiveness and cost analysis, Georgetown faculty member Marguerite Roza uses a series of exercises and analyses to show how it’s possible to think in profoundly different ways about how states, systems, and schools use educational funds. The unit teaches how to determine real unit costs for a range of programs and personnel, and then use those to inform smarter decisions. The unit considers the trade-offs implicit in class size decisions, when and how to offer electives, the provision of benefits, and the use of time and technology. Not only does this help make better instructional decisions, but Roza teaches how this kind of analysis can help inform public debate and aid in communications challenges.

Leveraging Talent & Improving Teacher Performance

Drawing on her personnel experience as chancellor of the DC public schools and a founder of The New Teacher Project, Georgetown faculty member Kaya Henderson explores the best ways to attract, cultivate, retain, use, and reward talented educators. Having negotiated DCPS’s nationally herald differentiated pay system and led the design of its IMPACT teacher evaluation model, Henderson is equipped to address both intricate design questions and the practical and political issues of doing this. The unit also challenges casual notions that culture-building and tough-minded personnel management are at odds, teaching how smart systems can provide a firmer foundation for a culture of mutual support, respect, and excellence.

Harnessing Technology to Rethink Teaching and Learning

John Bailey, former high-ranking Department of Education technology official and executive director of Digital Learning Now, teaches this unit on how to really put technology to use in schools and systems. The module pushes past happy talk about the inevitable promise of technology and the usual cant about “implementation” and “rollout” to focus on precisely how technology can help rethink what it is teachers do, how time is used, how money allocated, and how students learn. From there, the module addresses particular models for redesigning how classrooms and school work, what it takes for those deliver, and the broader changes that need to be made in schools and systems for any of this to succeed.

Making Rules, Regulations, and Contracts Work for You

Sheara Krvaric and Melissa Junge of the Federal Education Group, veteran education attorneys who have worked with a wealth of states and districts, explain how school and system leaders can do much more than they often think is possible. Addressing frustrations with federal grants, state laws, and common understandings of what’s permissible under federal statute, they show how school systems hobble themselves and how it’s possible to create vastly more room to act. Drawing on specific examples and exercises, the module teaches participants where to look for flexibility, how to determine what’s already been proven possible, how to get rules modified, and how to most productively approach district, state, and federal officials when seeking permission to operate in unconventional ways.

Employer Based, Cohort Model

The ELM Certificate is offered to employers who sponsor a cohort of participants. Employers must sponsor at least 10 students to establish a cohort.

Flexible Format

In our standard format, each program meets on Saturdays once a month for five months. The classes last 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Alternative delivery formats are available upon request.

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Elite Team of Nationally Recognized Faculty

Our Certificate is taught by an elite team of nationally recognized faculty who offer essential, practical guidance to help district and state education staff think dynamically about how to improve schools. Read more about our faculty.

Georgetown Certificate and Continuing Education Units

All Participants who attend and complete all sessions will receive a Georgetown University Certificate in Education Management and Leadership and 3.0 Continuing Education Units (CEU).


Tuition includes a light breakfast, lunch, books, and handouts. Tuition ranges from $2,000 per student to $5,200 per student depending on the cohort size and class location.

*NOTE: Students in this program are not eligible for federal financial aid.