The Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program (ELPS) offers a Mountain cohort option in its Executive Leadership for Successful Schools (ELSS) Certificate program. The cohort expands opportunities for educators and administrators to benefit from the program’s expertise and earn Certification for Colorado Principal Licensure. ELPS—which earned a top 20 ranking in Best Education Administration and Supervision by the U.S. News and World Report in 2016—launched the Mountain cohort in the 2014-15 academic year due to increasing interest from the region’s district superintendents.

Because the communities are far from higher education institutions on the Front Range and Western Slope, options for educators looking to expand their skills can be scarce. The cohort was created to address the unique needs of growing mountain communities and their schools, and to enable them to invest in school leaders who were already part of those communities. According to Assistant Professor of the Practice, Ellen Miller-Brown, Ph.D., the cohort provides a “high-quality, hybrid face-to-face and online program without the need for extensive travelling.” Face-to-face classes are held at locations in the high mountain region where the majority of the students reside.

Members of the 2015-16 cohort had great success; three graduates—Kendra Carpenter, Laura Rupert, and Robin Sutherland of Summit School District—applied for, and were accepted to, principal positions in their districts after completing the ELSS Certificate. Additionally, cohort members Hank Nelson and Clint Wytulka served as interim principals at their Nucla, CO schools during the program and were promoted to full principals after completion, and cohort member Will Harris was appointed the Education Technology Specialist in his Eagle County district school after completing the program.

Professors in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) DepartmentDr. Ellen Miller-Brown and Dr. Doris Candelarie strive to impact and empower education leaders to release their “untapped potential.” On July 30th at the 46th Annual CASE Education Leadership Convention in Breckenridge, Colorado, they presented Releasing Untapped Potential: What Works for Equity Leadership alongside Jesús Rodríguez, school leader and Ed.D student, and Tracy Stegall, school leader. During this interactive session, the speakers discussed how they are working to build an intentional, inclusive, and collaborative culture with a growth rather than deficit mindset, and to ensure balance in their schools for educating the whole child. Attendees also had the opportunity to delve into common leadership challenges and apply innovative solutions to address them.

Focusing the discussion on the importance of equity literacy during their presentation, Dr. Miller-Brown commented, “While much is known about best practices in leadership for curriculum, instruction, assessment, systems design, and community engagement, little is applied or discussed about the impact Equity Literacy and intercultural competence in leadership can have on student success.” The ELPS Department, which was recently approved by the Colorado Department of Education to be a provider of Turnaround Leadership development, prepares leaders equipped to transform schools to release the untapped potential within their schools and communities.

Organized by the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), the Education Leadership Convention is the largest professional development event of the year for critical learning and sharing best practices with colleagues. This was the first year CASE offered a series of workshops on Equity Leadership, and following the success of this series, Drs. Miller-Brown and Candelarie have been invited to present on the topic once again at the CASE Winter Leadership Conference in February 2016.


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