Russell Sage College celebrated the signing of a new partnership with the Center for Integrated Training & Education to deliver a new advanced certificate program in Instructional Leadership, which meets NYS requirements for School Building Leader (SBL) and School District Leader (SDL) certifications. From left to right are Russell Sage President Christopher Ames; Deborah Shea, assistant professor for educational leadership; Peter Stapleton, assistant provost for strategic initiatives; Francesca Durand, associate professor of educational leadership; Theresa Hand, provost, and Donald James, executive director for CITE.

Russell Sage College has launched a new program for school leaders that will meet a critical workforce need and help fill the gap left by the announced closure of The College of Saint Rose, a statewide leader in granting education degrees and certificates.

The new Instructional Leadership Advanced Certificate program will be delivered online and meets the New York State Education Department requirements for School Building Leader (SBL) and School District Leader (SDL) certifications, which are needed for those wishing to become assistant principals/superintendents or principals/superintendents in New York state.

In addition to offering the program to students throughout the Capital Region and New York state, Russell Sage will partner with the Center for Integrated Training and Education (CITE) – which has trained 25% of principals in NYC, a former chancellor, and a multitude of district and citywide leaders in the Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, and the New York City area – to deliver its new program in that region. Courses delivered through CITE will be in a hybrid format, with a mix of online and in-person sessions.

Russell Sage already partners with CITE to deliver its respected Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) program to New York City metro-based cohorts.

CITE has worked with Saint Rose to deliver SBL/SDL certificate programs. Between local students and the CITE partnership, Saint Rose granted 1,139 educational leadership certificates in 2021-2022, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

“Russell Sage has offered education programs for more than 100 years, and we’ve always tried to stay in tune with the needs of the P-12 schools,” said Russell Sage President Christopher Ames. “This program was under development since the summer, but the news about Saint Rose, a respected leader in this area, makes it even more pressing that we fill the resulting workforce development gap.”

“CITE is very pleased to be able to partner with Russell Sage College to offer this one-of-a-kind educational and instructional leader program,” said Donald James, executive director for CITE. “The program delivery model, a model pairing in-person instruction with state-of-the-art online learning opportunities, is extraordinary, meets the needs of today’s students, and was designed with adult learning best practices at the core. The combination of a curriculum aligned with the most current, research-based standards and the utilization of best practices in the development of a ‘working professionals’-level instructional model, assure that students completing the CITE/Russell Sage administration program will continue to be the best in the field.”

Russell Sage is now enrolling students for both a late spring and fall semester start. The college is also working with Saint Rose to add the SBL/SDL program to their teach-out agreement to serve Saint Rose SBL/SDL students who will need to finish their programs after the college’s planned closure at the end of this academic year.

Russell Sage’s new Instructional Leadership program also will appeal to teachers who serve as or want to become Instructional Coaches – seasoned educators who help other teachers in their districts improve instruction. Many districts have these Instructional Coach roles, but there is no formal course of preparation that gives them the tools they need to teach their peers. Should these teachers decide they want to pursue administrative careers, they’ll also have the SBL/SDL credentials needed through this new program.

This is the only SBL/SDL program in the state with an instructional leadership focus. Because the program is offered online, it can be taken anywhere throughout New York state. The required 600 in-person internship hours – which include a final integrative project, such as a program review, school building strategic plan, or team coaching plan – are embedded in the curriculum and can be completed in students’ home districts or nearby schools.

The program is chaired by Deborah Shea, assistant professor for educational leadership. Shea, who has vast experience as a teacher and administrator in rural, urban, and suburban districts, has previously served as the leader of the educational leadership advanced certificate programs at Saint Rose. She is also the author of “Teacher Leadership Reimagined: A Social Network Approach” (2020, Lexington Books).

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