Who can participate in the Social Justice Teacher Leadership certificate program? Is this program right for me?

The Teacher Leader certificate program is designed for teacher leaders, either in the classroom or outside of the classroom, who are interested in developing their leadership skills in their context. We are seeking candidates interested in understanding how schools work on a systemic level and who wish to explore how they can help to improve schools and student outcomes from their current role. The expectation is that you will be able to apply what you are learning to your context and role. However, there is no prescribed teacher leader role you must hold. You should expect that other participants will be in a variety of teacher leadership roles, including, but not limited to: grade level lead, department chair, BTSA/TICC coach, instructional coach, teacher on special assignment, ILT member, COS member, Data Team member, etc.

What is the Social Justice Teacher Leadership certificate?

Individuals who complete the Social Justice Leadership certificate program will receive a professional learning certificate. This is a certificate you can list on your resume, but is not a unit bearing or credentialing certificate. However, if you wish to earn units, CEUs are available for purchase through Dominican University.

How do I qualify for the 21CSLA grant?

If you work at a school in the Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, or Solano counties) or North Bay (Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Lake, or Mendocino counties), you might be eligible to have the cost of up to three modules completely subsidized by the 21st Century California School Leadership Academy (21CSLA) grant each academic year. If your school qualifies, there could be no charge to participate in the Teacher Leadership certificate program if you completed it across two years.

Bay Area: Click here to see a list of eligible schools.

(If your school is not on the list above, please contact the 21CSLA Alameda Regional Academy at

North Bay: Learn more here.

Where do I start? How do I start?

There are multiple entry points. You can start by taking one of the modules and if you successfully complete it, it can count towards the requirements for the certificate. If you are ready to start the entire certificate program, you should apply here.

Will this certificate move me on my district’s payscale?

The answer will depend on your district’s policies, as each district has specific criteria for what will count for movement on the payscale. We will provide you with the certificate and documentation of the professional learning modules you have completed. In some districts, you might have to get approval for these to count, either before or after having completed the modules. In other districts, the official certificate or the verification documentation is sufficient. If you have to earn units to move on your district’s payscale, you may purchase up to 5 CEUs (available through Dominican University). You should check with your district or CMO’s human resources department to find out what is required in your context.

Should I apply for the SJTLC if I’m interested in eventually earning my Administrative Services Credential?

Absolutely! If you anticipate pursuing an Administrative Services Credential in the future, the Teacher Leadership certificate will be a powerful first step in building your leadership perspective and skills. In fact, several alumni from our previous teacher leadership programs (Foundations and Cornerstone) have since enrolled in leadership credential programs and have accepted roles as administrators. If this is your inclination, we encourage you to look at the Aspiring Administrators strand of electives.

Should I enroll in this program if I was in the Cornerstone program?

It depends on what you are seeking. As a Cornerstone participant, you have earned a teacher leader certificate from UC Berkeley’s Leadership Programs. If you are interested in completing a second certificate, we can develop an individualized plan as some of the Cornerstone courses overlap with the SJTLC courses. We have had past Cornerstone participants who were interested in furthering their practice and elected to take new modules to complete the SJTLC.

What will I experience in the SJTLC modules?

The teacher leadership modules share many of the pedagogical hallmarks of its parent program, the Principal Leadership Institute (PLI). These include rich discussions, access to high quality educational research, coaching role-plays, supportive feedback, problem-based learning opportunities, and an emphasis on transferring theory into practice by applying course concepts into participants’ school contexts.

Will the modules be online or in person?

Due to COVID-19 and its variants, the teacher leadership modules will be delivered online for the foreseeable future. This design is intended to maximize safety and flexibility for participants. However, with changing conditions over time, we will re-evaluate whether to make certain elective offerings available as a hybrid with an in-person option for those interested. All required modules and several elective choices will remain online regardless.

What makes the SJTLC different from other professional development offerings?

The SJTLC couples the advantages of a cohort-based model (i.e., meaningful collaboration, building professional networks that sustain leaders in the work) with individualization. Participants engage in three required modules across the 12 months with their cohort and then select elective courses to sharpen their leadership skills in the areas that interest them most. This allows teacher leaders who may already have robust skills in one area, to focus in an area they have not yet had the opportunity to develop.

Can I earn credits/units for participating?

Yes! Participants who successfully complete the SJTLC modules are eligible for 5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through Dominican University.

If I took one of these modules before entering the SJTLC program, will those count?

Yes, participants who have successfully completed a module when taking them independently of the certificate may count that towards the certificate program requirements.