Leaders Exploring Administrative Possibilities (LEAP)

Department of Leadership Studies

Program of Study


The LEAP program is an eight-month, 3-unit program combining university coursework, mentorship, observation, reflection, and professional development. Students can expect to spend a total of 45 hours on campus in class, and typically spend at total of approximately 90 hours reading, observing, participating in leadership activities, meeting with a mentor, and reflecting in writing about their learning. This program is designed to be “low stakes” and not to exert the pressure on candidates that is found in most credential programs. Instead, candidates explore their potential as leaders, learn about leadership in schools, network with others including district and university faculty, and receive feedback and assistance from Educational Leadership Development Academy (ELDA) staff and mentors.

The program begins with a three-day Summer Leadership Institute and continues with monthly seminars from September through March. Upon successful completion, students interested in pursuing further study may choose to apply to the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential program and/or the M.A. in Leadership Studies with a specialization in PK-12 Public/Private School Leadership.

Program Requirements

  • Complete an Individual Learning Plan

  • Begin a portfolio with evidence of leadership experiences

  • Begin to develop your educational platform

  • Keep a reflective journal with the emphasis on learning

  • Meet at least three times with a mentor

  • Complete a Leadership Culminating Activity

Benefits to Participants

  • Build and assess leadership skills and capacity for school leadership

  • Engage in a school-based project that requires leadership skills

  • Receive feedback on leadership activities

  • Build relationships with district and community leaders

  • Listen to and learn about leadership from key school leaders in the region and nation

  • Broaden networks of leadership colleagues, peers as well as district and university leaders

  • Begin selection and training process for future administrative positions, specifically the principalship

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will the program take me?

The program lasts for eight months, beginning with a Summer Institute and completing in March.

How many units are included?

The credential program consists of 3 Graduate Units.

When are classes scheduled?

After the three-day Summer Institute, seminars are held monthly on evenings or weekends.

Can I work while completing this program?

Yes. Most of our students work full-time while completing this program. The program is designed to accommodate the schedule of a full-time working teacher.

What is the cost of the program?

The cost of the entire program is $900, and candidates receive academic credit for 3 units of graduate coursework (a $3,900 value based on USD's typical graduate tuition cost).