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CoLA - Program Overview
Cohort of Leadership Associates (CoLA) Logo

About Us

The Cohort of Leadership Associates (CoLA) is a State Board of Educator Certification approved alternative route to principal certification coordinated by Education Service Center, Region 20. CoLA is an intensive 19 month program of training and field-based work designed to develop and prepare quality school leaders in San Antonio and the surrounding areas..

  • Vision Statement:

    To be the definitive choice for individuals seeking principal preparation by providing quality training aligned with current best practices to create a strong, balanced leadership foundation.


    Core Beliefs:

    We believe…

    • In service first
    • Our employees drive our success
    • Collaboration maximizes results
    • In purposeful and effective communication
    • Change is opportunity
    • In cultivating strengths
    • Learning is life-long
  • Program Components:

    All program components are aligned with TAC §241.15 Standards Required for the Principal Certificate and the Framework for the TExES Principal 268 examination. Our program timeline is 19 months, beginning each January and concluding in July of the following year.  We offer a second entry point in April.  This accelerated route is 16 months and also concludes in July of the following year.  In the event of availability, the program may consider accepting candidates past the second entry point in April.  The CoLA Leadership Consultant must approve this exception.

    Leadership Associates accepted into our program will be required to:

    • Participate in over 200 hours of face to face leadership training, to include AEL and TTESS training/certification
    • Obtain 200 hours of on campus field based leadership experiences through an internship/practicum
    • Plan, implement, and monitor an Action Research Project focused on improving student achievement, teacher effectiveness, and overall campus culture.  
    • Apply acquisition of skills through performance assessments concentrated in: Communication with Stakeholders, Curriculum Alignment, Diversity and Equity, Data Driven Instruction, Hiring, Selection, and Retention, Observation and Feedback, Professional Development, School Vision and Culture, and Strategic Problem Solving 


    An important consideration to note: To ensure success on all program expectations and state certification exams, it is critical for the leadership associate to acquire the consent of their campus administration in providing them with direct guidance and multiple opportunities for involvement in campus leadership activities throughout the extent of the program.     


    Admission Requirements

    Option 1 – Traditional Track:

    • Master’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale


    Option 2 – University Partnership Track:

    • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
    • Must be working towards a Master's degree through an accredited institution.  See University of the Incarnate Word Partnership


    Both options require:

    • Valid Texas teaching certificate with a minimum of 2 years teaching experience
    • Two years of leadership experience
    • Letter of recommendation from current supervisor
    • Completed application on file
    • Screening interview process


    Program Fees

    • Non-refundable application fee $50
    • Program cost $7,725*


    Additional fees not included in the total program cost:

    • TExES Principal As Instructional Leader Exam (268) - registration fees paid directly to Pearson.
    • Performance Assessment for School Leaders (PASL) - registration fees paid directly to ETS.
    • SBEC Certification applications- fees paid directly to TEA/SBEC.
    • Extension of program timeline - additional fees paid directly to the CoLA program.


    *Note: Payment options are available. Discount offered to TOPP graduates. Fees are subject to change and reflect information available at the time of posting.

  • University of Incarnate Word LogoThrough the unique partnership between ESC-20 and the University of the Incarnate Word, Leadership Associates have the opportunity to obtain either a Master’s degree with a Concentration in School Leadership, or a Doctoral degree in Education with a Concentration in Organizational Leadership and Specialty in School Leadership in conjunction with their principal certificate. All CoLA program requirements are transferrable as university credit hours and are embedded into either degree plan.

    A Master’s degree must be conferred prior to being recommended for a Texas Standard Principal as Instructional Leader Certificate. Through the partnership, it can be completed within the CoLA program timeline.

  • Principal as Instructional Leader - Grades EC-12


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