Program Highlights

This online program is designed with working professionals in mind. It is convenient, affordable, and offers the curriculum you need to position yourself for School District Business Leader (SDBL) certification. But online doesn’t mean impersonal – it connects you with an immediate network of peers, mentors, and professionals.

  • Internship hours in your district: The program requires 600 hours of internship to be eligible for the SDBL certificate in New York state. Those currently working in public schools can complete their internship course field experiences in their districts.
  • Convenience: Classes are offered online in a combination of asynchronous (on your own time) and synchronous (live session) learning in the evening. Each course is six weeks long.
  • 9 more credits for your School District Leader (SDL) certificate: Students who want to move on to positions, such as assistant superintendent for business or superintendent, will ultimately need to pursue a School District Leader (SDL) certificate. Students in this School District Business Leader program can earn their SDL certificate through the completion of three additional courses.
  • Build your network: A cohort-learning model – meaning you’ll take your classes with the same set of peers throughout the program – provides additional support, creating a professional New York state and regional network that will be deepened through virtual seminars and collaborative sessions to develop leadership capacity.
  • Learn from pros: This program is geared toward practical knowledge. You’ll receive a wealth of information from your professors, as they’re still working as, or recently served as, district finance leaders.
  • Makes you doctoral-program ready: Graduates of this program are well-positioned to apply for the Russell Sage doctoral program in educational leadership.

Program Objectives/ Learning Outcomes

New York state programs require candidates to complete studies sufficient to demonstrate, upon program completion, the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the following:

  • Create and sustain financial and operational conditions within a district that enable all students to meet State learning standards and all staff to serve effectively in achieving that objective.
  • Identify, develop, and endorse organizational and administrative policies and procedures for the district.
  • Effectively and ethically manage the financial resources of a district, including but not limited to identifying revenue sources; understanding the impact of economic and financial markets upon districts; forecasting district expenditures; applying cash management procedures and generally accepted accounting principles; developing a financial model to monitor district finances.
  • Administer employment agreements and financial and operational resources in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations, including collective bargaining; manage and evaluate district payroll operations.
  • Effectively and ethically manage the operational functions of a district, including but not limited to: developing data-driven facilities plans; managing and tracking inventories, equipment, and capital assets; identifying, assessing, and communicating a district risk management program.
  • Assist in implementing, monitoring, and evaluating a district strategic plan; monitor and assess programs that support instruction; assist with the allocation of resources for instructional programs.
  • Effectively present financial data in multiple formats; direct a management information system; and implement effective mass and interactive communication strategies and techniques.

First fall semester

  • Leadership for School Business Officials (3 credits)
  • Personnel (3 credits)
  • Total: 6 credits

First spring semester

  • School Finance (3 credits)
  • School Finance Practicum (3 credits)
  • Total: 6 credits

First summer semester

  • Law for Business Officials (3 credits)
  • Total: 3 credits

Second fall semester

  • Special Topics for Business Officials (3 credits)
  • Internship I (3 credits)
  • Total: 6 credits

Second spring semester

  • Internship I or II (3-6 credits)*
  • Total: 3-6 credits

*Students choose when they do their internship, which can span two semesters based on what’s convenient for them. Credits needed will vary, based on whether the student already has a School Building Leader certificate or desires to have enough credits to take the School District Leader exam.

Internship I: The first internship course includes 300 hours and four evening seminars on special topics for Business Officials. Students are working on their college/district- approved internship proposal and are completing projects and tasks. These are shared in the seminars.

Internship II: The second internship course includes 300 hours and four evening seminars on special topics for Business Officials. Students are working to complete their college/district-approved internship proposal projects and tasks. These are shared in the seminars. Topics in this final course include applications for positions, interviewing strategies, and resumes.

For those students wishing to move on to positions such as assistant superintendent for business or superintendent, a district-level certificate will be required. Students in this program can earn the School District Leader (SDL) certificate through the completion of three additional courses, negotiable based on their educational background and the position(s) they are applying to:


  • EDA 608  School District Leader 

Choose two:

  • EDA 603  Leadership of the Curriculum
  • EDA 604  Supervision of Teaching and Learning
  • EDA 605  Communities of Practice
  • EDA 606  Family and Community Engagement

Admission Requirements

For admission to this program, applicants must:

  • Must hold a master’s degree in business, finance, or education-related fields
  • Transcripts from both undergraduate and graduate institutions documenting a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Resume
  • Three references (at least one from a supervisor, such as a superintendent)
  • Note: GRE scores are not required for admission to this program.
Need help?
Assistant Professor of Education and Program Director for Graduate Certificate Programs

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