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Leading for Excellence and Equity: A CAEL Module

9/11/17 to 12/2/17

This is an online program with significant job-embedded learning.

Applies toward the Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership

Individual Tuition$2,250 per module

Teams of three or more$1,995 per team member


Transformational leadership in education advances equity for all learners. For system-level leaders, a commitment to both excellence and equity is an essential step in a personal and professional journey that will continue throughout your life. Learning to develop and sustain standards of excellence with genuinely inclusive, equity-focused schools and systems requires leaders to understand the intersection of race, identity, power, and privilege in society and, as a result, in schools. You will embark on a journey of self-examination about your mindset and your beliefs about different students and their achievement, learn to have courageous conversations about differences, and gain a deeper understanding of the blind spots we all hold. Most important, you will learn best practices and develop leadership strategies that build the capacity of teachers and principals to recognize the potential and ability in all children and to promote their success at high levels.

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Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership FAQs

Format and Delivery

Each module takes place over 12 weeks, moving through a cycle of learning, application, performance, and demonstration. Throughout the program, you will engage in a range of activities online, plus exercises carried out in your professional context.

Online activities include:

  • Reading
  • Watching videos
  • Taking short assessments
  • Participating in small-group virtual discussion, virtual discussion sections, and/or smaller self-organized breakout groups
  • Submitting a final project which demonstrates applied learning

The experience is designed to be both rigorous and flexible. The activities are asynchronous, meaning you can choose when within a given week you do them. Each week will require five to seven hours of work, with more guided work during the “learning” weeks (2, 3, 4, and 8) and more job-embedded practice and application during the other weeks of the module. Each participant will have a designated online learning facilitator whom he or she can contact directly for support.

Who Should Attend

Leading for Excellence and Equity is intended for current leaders in preK-12 school systems, including:

  • Superintendents and district-level administrators
  • Directors of charter management organizations
  • Administrators at state agencies
  • Experienced principals and teachers who aspire to system-level roles
  • Teams of education leaders seeking to strengthen their skills and collaborative capabilities
Faculty Chair

Deborah Jewell-Sherman is professor of practice at HGSE. Jewell-Sherman is a graduate of the Ed School’s Urban Superintendents Program and has built a reputation over the past decade as one of the most successful urban district superintendents in the country. She served as superintendent of the Richmond, Virginia, schools from 2002 to 2008. During her tenure, 95 percent of Richmond's lowest performing schools achieved full accreditation under Virginia's Standards of Learning legislation, and the district as a whole improved from 18 to 91.7 percent. Jewell-Sherman was named Virginia Superintendent of the Year 2009 by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents.

About the Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership

The Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership is designed to help current and aspiring preK-12 system-level leaders develop a robust understanding of the complexities within educational systems, while honing the leadership skills to create transformational change.

The CAEL certificate is comprised of four online modules. All participants must complete the Leading Learning module, and can select three of the remaining four offerings. Leading Learning can be taken at any point within the certificate timeline. 

CAEL Modules:

Each module spans approximately 12 weeks. Coursework is flexible — you can begin with any module and complete modules in any order.

Following successful completion of four modules, a final assignment will be required to receive the Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership. This final assignment provides an opportunity to reflect on the CAEL journey and to look forward, considering opportunities for further application.


  • Make visible to yourself key learnings from CAEL
  • Show evidence of your learning
  • Identify questions and next steps for continued learning

The project will result in a 2-3 page reflection and is due one month after your fourth CAEL module. The primary audience for this document is YOU. A facilitator will provide brief feedback.

Enrollment for Individuals

Enrollment Instructions

Step One
You will be asked to provide your personal profile and organizational information.

Step Two
You will be asked to respond to the following questions:

  1. Explain how participation in the program will benefit your work, and describe one or more significant challenges you would like to explore during the program. (250 word limit)
  2. In what ways do you expect your particular skills, experience, and perspective to contribute to group discussions? (250 word limit)
Enrollment for Teams

Enrollment Instructions

Identify Your Team Coordinator

  • Before beginning the application process, you will need to identify a team coordinator.
  • The coordinator will be the primary point of contact during the application process and preparation for the program.
  • The coordinator must participate in the program and all team members must enroll in the same module to be eligible for the team rate.

The Application Process

  1. A team application to be completed once by the coordinator.
  2. A team member application to be completed by each member of your team.
  • In order for your team to be considered for review by the admissions committee, each team member will need to complete the team member application. The coordinator will receive a link to the team member application once the team application is complete.
  • Once started, the team application must be completed in a single session. It should take 15–20 minutes to complete.
  • A list of required questions will be provided at the beginning of the team application.
  • When your coordinator is ready to complete the team application, it can be accessed by continuing to the next page.
Fees and Policies

Tuition includes all instructional materials. Participants receive a certificate of competency as well as a letter confirming the amount of clock hours awarded per module (60 hours). CAEL does not provide course hour equivalents. 

Payment or a purchase order must be received within thirty days of program acceptance and prior to the program start. Participants are responsible for their own travel expenses. While a purchase order confirms enrollment, an outstanding balance is maintained until payment is rendered.

Please click here for more information on our on-campus and online refund and withdrawal policies. If you have any additional questions or concerns about your ability to participate, please contact our admissions team at or 1-800-545-1849.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education reserves the right to change faculty or cancel programs at its discretion. In the unlikely event of program changes, the school is not responsible for non-refundable travel arrangements or other planning expenses incurred.

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