Superintendency Graduate Credit Certificate Program

Person-in-ChargeDavid Gamson
Program CodeSUPER
Campus(es)University Park

The Letter of Eligibility (LOE) program is a residential program offered at University Park and has three important features:

The Education Leadership program has received approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for the courses and course sequence that lead to the PDE Superintendent Letter of Eligibility (LOE). This graduate certificate consists of the required credits for the PDE Superintendent Letter of Eligibility and will provide an additional credential for students who complete these credit requirements. The PDE Superintendent Letter of Eligibility (LOE) has additional requirements that need to be fulfilled in order for it to be awarded; contact the College of Education's Advising & Certification Center for more information.

The Penn State courses for the Letter of Eligibility (LOE) for the Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent/Intermediate Unit Director have been evaluated by Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and The National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) standards. These preparation standards, formerly known as the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) standards, have been renamed the National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) standards.

There are two options for obtaining the LOE: (a) for students in an Ed.D. or Ph.D. program, by pursuing the LOE as part of their doctoral coursework, or (b) for candidates only interested in pursuing the LOE, through the completion of the required 21 credits, the successful completion of the internship, and the receipt of a passing score on the Pennsylvania state mandated assessment.

Effective Semester: Spring 2021
Expiration Semester: Spring 2026

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies. International applicants may be required to satisfy an English proficiency requirement; see GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.

The PDE Superintendent Letter of Eligibility (LOE) has additional admission requirements; contact the College of Education's Advising & Certification Center for more information.

Certificate Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in Graduate Council policy GCAC-212 Postbaccalaureate Credit Certificate Programs.

To be awarded the Superintendency Graduate Certificate, students must successfully complete 21 credits of course work in the required courses listed below. The PDE Superintendent Letter of Eligibility (LOE) has additional requirements that need to be fulfilled in order for it to be awarded; contact the College of Education's Advising & Certification Center for more information.

Required Courses
EDLDR 533The Politics of Local School Districts3
EDLDR 549School District Improvement and Systemic Change3
C-S 551Curriculum Design: Theory and Practice3
EDLDR 865Human Resources Leadership in Education3
EDLDR 573Public School Finance3
EDLDR 578Schools as Organizations3
EDLDR 595Internship3
Total Credits21


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Learning Outcomes

Core Standard #1: The leader has knowledge and skills to think and plan strategically, creating an organizational vision around personalized student success.

  • 1A Demonstrates how to work with a Board of Ed to accomplish a strategic goal or objective
  • 1B Demonstrates how to facilitate the development of a shared vison for personalized student success
  • 1C Demonstrates how to apply strategic thinking and change strategies to address student achievement challenges at the district level.
  • 1D Demonstrates how to work with a team to create and implement strategic, operational and tactical plans that demonstrate desired results.
  • 1E Demonstrates how to lead a team through a district level problem solving process resulting in a plausible solution
  • 1F Demonstrates how to apply a range of leadership styles appropriate to a variety of contexts.

Core Standard #2: The leader is grounded in standards-based systems theory and design and is able to transfer knowledge to his/her job as an architect of standards-based reform in the school.

  • 2A Demonstrates the ability to implement a district wide standards based reform initiative.
  • 2B Demonstrates how to apply systems thinking in decision making situations.
  • 2C Demonstrates ability to focus adequate resources on reform efforts.
  • 2D Demonstrates ability to align reform efforts with federal, state and district requirements.

Core Standard #3: The leader knows how to access and use appropriate data to inform decision-making at all levels of the system.

  • 3A Demonstrates the ability to lead decision making processes appropriate to the situation.
  • 3B Demonstrates how to structure problems for solution and frame issues for resolution.
  • 3C Demonstrates how to use assessment and evaluation information for continuous improvement efforts
  • 3D Demonstrates how to use data and information to inform decisions.

Corollary Standard #1: The leader creates a culture for teaching and learning with an emphasis on learning.

  • 1A Demonstrates the ability to apply research based best practices to solve school reform problems and challenges.
  • 1B Applies best practices to establish and improve the organizational climate across the education community.
  • 1C. Models the attributes of a continuous learner and the expectation for others.
  • 1D Demonstrates the ability to plan and execute plans to ensure the safest and most secure environment across the district.

Corollary Standard #2: The leader effectively manages resources for effect results.

  • 2A Knows how to develop a budget plan that is aligned to district goals and priorities.
  • 2B Exhibits the ability to ensure that technology is appropriately implemented throughout the district.
  • 2C Knows how to manage resources effectively.
  • 2D Demonstrates how to increase and allocate resources.
  • 2E Demonstrates how to assess the way resources are utilized and the results produced.
  • 2F Demonstrates knowledge of regulations and policies and how to interpret them accurately and apply them appropriately.
  • 2G Demonstrates how to provide consistent and effective management practice through written policies and procedures.

Corollary Standard #3: The Leader collaborates, communicates, engages, and empowers others inside and outside the organization to pursue excellence in learning.

  • 3A Demonstrates how to establish and improve the culture of learning throughout the district.
  • 3B Demonstrates effective communication abilities.
  • 3C Demonstrates how to involve key community district and school stakeholders in reform efforts.
  • 3D Models appropriate leadership behavior and develops leadership skills in others through mentoring and coaching.
  • 3E Demonstrates how to assemble appropriate stakeholders into effective teams for problem solving.

Corollary Standard #4: The Leader operates in a fair and equitable manner with personal and professional integrity.

  • 4A Demonstrates impeccable personal and professional ethics at all times.
  • 4B Demonstrates how to embrace and utilize diversity to improve performance and learning.
  • 4C Demonstrates how to use data and information from multiple sources to improve decision making.
  • 4D Demonstrates how to address conflict and resolve differences to achieve effective results.

Corollary Standard #5: The Leader advocates for children and public education in the larger political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context.

  • 5A Demonstrates how to identify and interpret external influences and how they impact on local education decisions.
  • 5B Exhibits continues focus on all children and their individual needs.
  • 5C Exhibits sound judgment in operational and educational decisions to maximize learning opportunities of all children.
  • 5D Demonstrates how to engage with governmental and political leaders to effectively address the developmental and educational needs of all children.
  • 5C Demonstrates knowledge of the law.

Corollary Standard #6: The Leader supports professional growth of self and others through practice and inquiry.

  • 6A Demonstrates how to use professional development as a way to increase individual and institutional capability.
  • 6B Demonstrates how to engage staff and Board members in relevant professional development activities.
  • 6C Demonstrates the ability to identify and nurture individual strengths and leverage the human resources to benefit the district
  • 6E Demonstrates how to design professional development plans that lead to improved student learning.


Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head David Gamson
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Edward J Fuller
Program Contact

Mark Ivicic
200 Rackley Building
Penn State University
University Park PA 16802