Principal Licensure


Faculty & Staff


Brian Coppess, Ed.D headshot
Assistant Professor, Director of Principal Licensure
Phone: 970.943.2135
Office Location: Crawford Hall 108
Caroline Powders Forrest, M.Ed. headshot
Lecturer, Clinical Coach
Phone: 970.943.7035
Office Location: Crawford Hall 122
Brooke Hanks, M.A. headshot
Senior Lecturer
Phone: 970.943.2504
Office Location: Crawford Hall 105
Jeff Hulbert, M.S. headshot
Lecturer, Clinical Coach
Phone: 970.943.2141
Office Location: Crawford Hall 107
George Kamberelis, Ph.D. headshot
Professor, Chairperson
Phone: 970.943.2033
Office Location: Crawford Hall 103
Jackie Luft, Ed.D. headshot
Phone: 970.943.7043
Office Location: Crawford Hall 110
Ian  Parker Renga, Ph.D. headshot
Assistant Professor
Phone: 970.943.2244
Office Location: Crawford Hall 106
Alissa Tower, J.D. headshot
Director of Licensure
Phone: 970.943.3092
Office Location: Crawford Hall 122
Jennifer Whitacre, M.S. headshot
Lecturer, Clinical Coach, Director of Summer Teacher Institute
Phone: 970.943.2120
Office Location: Crawford Hall 104
Cori L. Woytek, M.S. headshot
Lecturer, Clinical Coach
Phone: 970.943.3019
Office Location: Crawford Hall 122


For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

 EDUC 670 - Introduction to School Leadership (4 cred.)

Provide an overview of educational leadership principles, including theories of leadership, foundational concepts of leading a school, qualities of effective leaders, and the process of building a positive, collaborative school culture.

 EDUC 672 - Personnel Selection and Development (3 cred.)

Understand and evaluate the process of working with school-related personnel, including recruiting and hiring practices, developing meaningful induction and mentoring programs, managing teacher and staff evaluations, and providing needs-based professional development for all staff.

 EDUC 673 - School Safety and Management (3 cred.)

Identify and explore the components of school plant and safety management, including school-wide student discipline policies and practices, crisis and emergency planning and responses, and managing various funding sources associated with operating a school.

 EDUC 674 - Family and Community Involvement (3 cred.)

Investigate various strategies for building relationships with all members of the school community, including identifying and understanding diversity in the surrounding community, establishing partnerships with area businesses and organizations, and working effectively with local media outlets.

 EDUC 675 - Student Learning and Accountability (3 cred.)

Examine the responsibilities of managing curriculum, instruction, and assessment in schools, including evaluation of curriculum and instruction practices to maximize learning for all students, analysis of data from local and statewide assessments to drive instructional decisions for school improvement, and development of strategies to support a range of diverse student learning needs.

 EDUC 678 - Principal Internship I (3 cred.)

Complete a supervised internship or work full/part time as a school-based administrator. Demonstrate competency on Colorado principal licensure standards through structured, reflective tasks and leadership-based internship experiences.

 EDUC 679 - Principal Internship II (3 cred.)

Complete a supervised internship or work full/part time as a school-based administrator. Demonstrate competency on Colorado principal licensure standards through structured, reflective tasks and leadership-based internship experiences. Prerequisite: Successful completion of EDUC 678 Administrator Internship I.

 EDUC 680 - Research and Critical Inquiry for Leaders (4 cred.)

Examine, analyze, and synthesize research literature in relation to emerging trends in education. Explore concepts pertaining to quantitative and qualitative research methods and the synergistic relationship between research, theory, and practice. Develop problem posing/solving, information literacy, and critical thinking. Must be taken in the final year of the program.

 EDUC 682 - Shaping School Systems (3 cred.)

Understand the characteristics of effective organizational culture from various perspectives. Explore systemic structures and issues within a school and district. Examine and apply critical analysis and creativity related to educational group dynamics that advocate for all students, staff, and stakeholders within an educational community.

 EDUC 683 - Legal and Ethical Issues in Schools (3 cred.)

Explore legal and ethical issues related to equity, diversity, and accessibility in schools, including examining cases and case law affecting school-based practices, identifying the legal and ethical responsibilities of school employees, and understanding the rights and responsibilities of the members in the school community.

 EDUC 693 - Capstone (3 cred.)

Interpreting, planning, conducting, and reporting research results in the field of education. Students must be enrolled in EDUC 693 when utilizing Western Colorado University Graduate Faculty support in conducting research. This course can be repeated for credit and is required the final semester of the M.A. degree in Education Program. Prerequisite: EDUC 680 Research and Critical Inquiry for leaders.

 EDUC 695 - Resource Management in Education (3 cred.)

Explore and apply the characteristics of effective school and district leadership and resource management for education-specific programs and initiatives. Identify potential funding agencies and local/state/national partnerships that could help to build resources based to meet school and district needs. Utilize the characteristics of effective grant writing for education-specific programs and initiatives.

 EDUC 696 - Engaging External Stakeholders (3 cred.)

Identify stakeholders that support the education system and develop processes for meaningful involvement in activities and decision making. Explore and apply methods for communicating to a variety of audiences. Understand the political and financial nature of community partnerships with schools and districts.

Western's one-year Principal Licensure program allows you to earn your principal license while gaining hands-on administrative experience. Aligned with Colorado’s Principal Quality Standards, our program provides personalized support during your online coursework and continuous feedback from your mentor principal, regional coordinator and Western instructors throughout your residency.

*Principal licensure requirements vary from state-to-state. This program is approved based on the State of Colorado standards. You are solely responsible for checking what the specific requirements are from the department of education in the state you plan to work. 

How It Works 

You'll be admitted to the licensure program as part of our M.A. in Education and all your credits will apply toward a master’s degree. 

  • During your first year, you'll work with a mentor principal for seven to eight hours per week while taking 25 credits of online coursework. At the end of the first year, you'll be recommended for your Colorado Principal License. Once you earn your Principal License, you have up to four more years to complete an additional 19 credits of coursework to earn your M.A. in Education and be eligible for an Administrator License.
  • Summer: You'll attend a Licensure Orientation on Western’s campus, which covers foundational concepts and reviews program expectations, while also allowing you to connect with your instructors and peers in person before starting the program.  
  • Fall and Spring: You'll enroll in three eight-week, graduate-level courses and complete 150 internship hours each semester. The eight-week courses have staggered start dates to allow flexibility and minimize conflict between coursework and internship hours.  

Alternative Principal Licensure Program  

As an alternative licensure candidate, you'll work full time as a principal or assistant principal of record at a K-12 school while completing online coursework. You'll also spend 1-2 hours per week collaborating with a mentor principal. For more information, see the Colorado Department of Education Alternative Principal Program webpage

M.A. in Education, Educational Administration Leadership 

As an education administrator, you'll create a common vision for a district and act as a change agent who improves conditions for learning. You'll collaborate with teachers and employees in your building to make sound decisions about effective learning and teaching for continuous improvement. After completion of the principal licensure year, you may complete an additional 19 credits of coursework to earn your M.A. degree in Education and be eligible for an Administrator License, which allows you to apply for superintendent positions. You aren't required to complete the degree if you only want to earn the principal license. 

Western is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. This regional accrediting agency is responsible for accrediting degree-granting post-secondary institutions in a 19-state region.

Apply to the M.A. in Education

Learn More

Reach out for more information about the program.

Headshot of Deanna Banker
Graduate Program Coordinator
Office Location: 
Crawford Hall 111

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