• Graduate Studies
  • Education Specialist
    Teacher Leader   Available Online

    The essential objective of the Class AA program in Teacher Leadership embraces the mission of enhancing school leadership among teacher leaders in Alabama resulting in the improvement of academic achievement for all students through opportunities to work collaboratively with school administrators, colleagues, students, parents and families, and the larger community to achieve school-wide goals. The Education Specialist Degree program which leads to Class AA certification is designed to extend further the skills necessary for teacher leaders to foster student achievement through quality educational practices that are grounded in research based strategies.

    All students seeking Class AA Certification in any field shall be required to complete a general survey course in Special Education (3 semester hours) if such a course was not a part of their undergraduate program or another graduate program. A research component including research and/or field work will be an integral part of all specialist programs in education.

    A candidate who took a course for credit in a Class A program cannot take the same course for credit in a Class AA program.  Completion of sixth-year programs requires at least thirty (30) semester hours of credit not used for prior level certification in any teaching field.

    Program Admission Requirements

    Initial certification for a Teacher Leader shall be at the Class AA level.

    NOTE:  Candidates must be unconditionally admitted prior to enrolling in any courses in the Instructional Leadership degree program.  Candidates who are denied unconditional admission may reapply the following semester.

    Unconditional Admission Requirements

    1. Meet all requirements for admission to the School of Graduate Studies.
    2. A valid master's level professional educator certificate in any teaching field or area of instructional support.
    3. A minimum of three full years of full-time teaching experience in a P-12 setting.
    4. Provide verification of background clearance/fingerprints.
    5. A portfolio containing:
      1. Three letters of recommendation.
      2. Evidence of ability to positively affect student achievement.
      3. Evidence of collaborative leadership potential.
    6. If an individual is admitted to an Alabama Class AA Teacher Leader program based on a master's level professional educator certificate in a teaching field or area of instructional support from another state, completes the Class AA Teacher Leader program, and subsequently applies for Class AA Teacher Leader certification, then the individual must earn at least a Class A Professional Educator Certificate in a teaching field or area of instructional support before applying for Class AA certification.

    Additional Requirements/Information

    • Students will be required to attend periodic focus sessions via online or on campus for candidates to share problem-based concerns and successes and to collaborate on issues and solutions.
    • Participate in meaningful P-12 school-based field experiences in all courses used to meet a teacher leader standard. Artifacts/evidence of experiences must be documented through LiveText
    • Students will participate in a minimum of six semester hours for a problem-based research project in a school or school system.
    • The Teacher Leader Advisory Council and Instructional Leadership Advisory Council will collaboratively engage in developing partnerships between UWA and LEA's to enhance said partnerships through joint curriculum design, joint mentoring decisions, joint planning for field experiences, and joint planning for candidates' problem-based research projects

    Program Completion Requirements

    The following requirements must be met prior to completion of the sixth-year Class AA Teacher Leader program:

    The candidate shall

    1. Complete all required courses.
    2. Maintain a 3.25 grade point average in all program courses with no grade less than "C."
    3. A passing score on the Livetext Comprehensive Portfolio Assessment which comprehensively assesses mastery of the curriculum of the teacher leader program.

    Testing for Certification in Teacher Leader

    Applicants for initial certification in teacher leader through the completion of a Class AA program must meet the Praxis II requirements of the Alabama Educator Certification Testing Program (AECTP) as a precondition of certification. Additional information is provided in Rule 290-3-3-.53(4).

    Requirements for Certification

    1. Satisfactory completion of a State-approved program with a minimum GPA of 3.25 for all courses in the Alabama State Board of Education approved teacher leader program as verified on an official transcript.
    2. Satisfactory completion of a problem-based research project.
    3. A passing score on the Livetext Comprehensive Portfolio Assessment which comprehensively assesses mastery of the curriculum of the teacher leader program.
    4. A survey of special education course, if not previously completed.
    5. A valid master's level professional educator certificate in any teaching field or area of instructional support.

    Unconditional Admission Required Courses: 30 hours

    A. Professional Course: 12 hours

    • ED 601. Curriculum Design (3)
    • ED 604. Advanced Educational Research (3)
    • EE 627. Educational Assessment (3)
    • EE 628. School Reform Models in Elementary Schools (3)

    B. Instructional Support Area: 18 hours

    • IL 651. Mentoring Strategies and Professional Learning Communities (3)
    • IL 652. Organizational Leadership (3)
    • TL 655. Literacy & Numeracy Coaching and Content Learning (3)
    • TL 656. Standards Based Teacher Leadership (3)
    • IL 657. Problem Based Experiences I (3)
    • IL 658. Problem Based Experiences II (3)

    Total Required: 30 hours

    Required if not previously completed

    • SE 500. Introduction to Special Education (3)


    The Teacher Education Program and the Teacher Certification Program are governed by the Alabama State Department of Education, and the College of Education reserves the right to change requirements in these programs at any time when such changes are mandated by the State Department.