K-12 Administrator Certification

At UW–Madison, students can earn certification in K-12 administration through several graduate programs. The programs emphasize:

  • Development of knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are essential for leaders who support learning for all students.
  • General themes of individual socialization, instructional leadership, and integrative leadership clusters.
  • Knowledge and skills in the eleven state administrator standards, with a strong instructional leadership focus.
  • Training in data-based decision-making, resource reallocation, instructional and cultural leadership, professional development and evaluation, and legal aspects of administrative practice.

Students develop a portfolio of their work throughout their program that is used formatively to help shape learning opportunities and summatively to assess readiness for administrative work. Graduates serve as administrators in public and private schools throughout the state in diverse settings. They also serve in state and national leadership roles to strengthen and enhance learning outcomes for all students.

Additional DPI licensure requirements.

https://dpi.wi.gov/licensing/general/administrators

Degree and Experience Requirements

  1. Completion of a state-approved educator preparation program in the licensure area.
  2. A minimum of master’s degree or the equivalent. Superintendent license requires a specialist degree or equivalent; program coordinator licenses require a bachelor’s degree.
  3. A valid or eligibility to hold a provisional educator license in teaching or pupil services. School business administrator and program coordinator licenses are waived from this requirement.
  4. Six semesters of successful full-time classroom teaching experience, or six semesters of successful experience as a pupil services professional including 540 hours of classroom teaching experience. School business administrator and program coordinator licenses are waived from this requirement.

Principal Certification

The principalship provides the foundational coursework for all administrative licenses, and focuses on instructional leadership and data-based decision-making. The requirements for principal certificate are built into the degree requirements of three of our master’s degree cohort programs.

If seeking certification only, the same program requirements are required.

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Adding director of instruction certification

If someone does not hold a principal license, all courses required for principal certification plus the two additional courses listed below (860 and 875) are required. If seeking a director instruction license as an initial administrative license, a 150-hour field experience is required.

If someone currently holds a principal license, adding the director of instruction license requires completion of the two additional courses listed below (860 and 875) plus a 75-hour field experience. The additional courses are:

  • ELPA 860 Organizational Theory and Behavior in Education
    Theoretical constructs and empirical research relating to administering organizations in education. Emphasis on administrative behavior with special attention to planning and organizational improvement.
  • ELPA 875 Theory and Practice of Educational Planning
    Theory, research and practice in advanced program planning and evaluation involving elementary, secondary and higher and post-secondary education.

Adding director of special education and pupil services certification

If someone does not hold a principal license, all courses required for principal certification plus the two additional courses listed below (835 and 842) are required. If seeking a director of special education and pupil services license as an initial administrative license, a 150-hour field experience is required.

If someone currently holds a principal license, adding the director of special education and pupil services license requires completion of the two additional courses listed below (835 and 842) plus a 75-hour field experience. The additional courses are:

  • ELPA 835 Leadership for Inclusive Schooling
    Examines historical and organizational context of special education administration at the federal, state and local levels. Includes policy implementation, constituency management, coordination, communication, and current issues.
  • ELPA 842 Legal Foundations of Special Education and Pupil Services
    Legal requirements and issues relative to special education and pupil services programs; special education, juvenile justice, programs for English language learners, programs for children who are homeless; examination of applicable federal and state statutes and case law. 

Superintendent Certification

Superintendent certification requires completion of an Educational Specialist Certificate or the equivalent which is enrollment in a PhD program and completion of all coursework and preliminary exams (approved dissertation proposal).

If seeking superintendent certification in Wisconsin, the candidate must hold or be eligible to hold a principal (51) license.

License-specific coursework must be included in Educational Specialist Certificate program or PhD program. The courses are:

  • ELPA 785 Staff Personnel Systems
  • ELPA 846 The Superintendency
  • ELPA 860 Organizational Theory and Behavior in Education
  • ELPA 870 The Politics of Education
  • ELPA 875 Theory and Practice of Educational Planning