Program Overview | Trinity University

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Program Overview

The Principal Fellows program is an intensive 14-month program, which leads to a Master of Education in School Leadership and a State of Texas Principal certificate and prepares a select cohort of educators to take on the challenges of urban school leadership in the greater San Antonio community.

Cohort Sequence

A Cohort of Transformative School Leaders. The Principal program is a small, cohort-based experience with a select group of top teacher leaders from across the area.

TThe advantage of being in a cohort is that you will be a part of a select cadre of high performing, innovative, transformative leaders, who can support each other as they provide leadership to the schools of San Antonio in order to dramatically improve the levels of student achievement and aspiration in our community.

Center for Educational Leadership at Trinity University

Cohort Fellows are also supported as new school leaders through Trinity's Center for Educational Leadership, which will provide regular cohort-based convenings, national speakers on critical education issues, as well as targeted learning seminars for continued leadership development.

Leadership Internship

Apprenticeship Lays Foundation for School Leadership. Once a cohort is selected, Principal Fellows participate in an intensive summer foundational experience to launch their program. During this summer experience, Fellows will also examine leadership practices in an organization outside of education.

Through partnerships with San Antonio businesses, industry, and the non-profit or governmental community, Principal Fellows are matched with a leadership practicum mentor in the community and spend substantive time within that organization with learning activities that align with their ongoing leadership coursework.

In August, Fellows are provided with half-time release time from their teaching duties to facilitate their apprenticeship at their school. During this apprenticeship, they will engage in targeted leadership development experiences and projects, and will be provided a highly trained, university-based leadership coach who will work weekly with them to assist in honing their personal leadership skills as well as in adding value to the school and its improvement through their leadership activities. Fellows will also assess their own leadership strengths, develop professional growth plans based on the assessment center results, and participate in leadership learning modules provided by top educational leaders locally and from across the nation.

Finally, Fellows will complete the program with a second summer session following the apprenticeship that will provide an opportunity to codify their learning, analyze their upcoming context for leadership and create an entry plan, complete a final school design / redesign project, and compile their portfolio documenting the mastery of the Fellowship's knowledge, skills and dispositions based on the national standards of the National Policy Board for Educational Administration. The Principal Fellows will earn a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership at the completion of the program and will be prepared for the exam for Texas State Certification for principal licensure.


A Framework of Excellence and High Expectations. The preparation of high performing school leaders involves an ongoing developmental process that equips them with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for leadership within the challenging and changing context of San Antonio's schools. Drawing from national research on effective school leadership, Trinity's Principal Fellowship program has identified a set of drivers or levers for school transformation that will form the competency framework at the program's foundation.

The framework is based on two primary drivers for school transformation:

  • Excellence in Learning and Teaching
  • A Culture of High Expectations

A set of supporting drivers address specific skills needed to effectively and efficiently lead 21st century schools:

  • Effective Operations
  • Systems Development and Management
  • Commitment to Human Capital Development
  • and the foundational element of Continuous Personal Growth in Leadership

Course Sequence

First Summer Session:
ELED 5390 - Educational Leadership
ELED 5392 – Leadership in Elementary and Secondary Schools
ELED 6390 - School Law and Policy Analysis 
Fall Session:
ELED 5391 - School Management and Finance
ELED 5393 - Research, Assessment and Data-Driven Decision Making
ELED 5394 - Clinical Practice Internship
Spring Session:
ELED 5395 - Instructional and Curricular Leadership
ELED 5397 – Curricular and Instructional Leadership in Grades EC-6
ELED 6693 - Clinical Practice – Adv. Internship
Second Summer Session:
ELED 6393 - Community Building and Civic Engagement
ELED 6394 - Systems Design and Implementation

Course Faculty

Oscar Jimenez-Castellanos, Murchison Endowed Professor and Chair, Department of Education
Linda Mora, Interim Trinity School Design Network & Former Associate Superintendent Northside ISD
Richard Middleton, Former Superintendent Northeast ISD
Frank Alfaro, Associate Superintendent Alamo Heights ISD
Jeff Goldhorn, Executive Director, Region 20
Gary Bates, Superintendent Fort Sam Houston ISD
Burnie Roper, Superintendent Lackland ISD
Juan Sepulveda, Distinguished Radford Visiting Professor  
Sonia Marrero, Trinity School Design Administrator & SME Coordinator
Craig Wood, Lawyer Walsh Gallegos

Instructional Coaches

Linda Zarakas, Former Principal
Wilbert Morgan, Former Principal
Brenda Farias, Former Principal
Rickie Baker, Former Principal
Terri Neuman, Former Principal