Georgia Charter Schools Association

Charter Leader Ed.S. Program

Unique three-way partnership offers Education Specialist degree 
program for charter school professionals:
Program begins June 2012. Applications are closed.
Another round of applications for the 2013 summer cohort will be available at a later date.

The first cohort of the CharterLeader Ed.S. Program offered exclusively through a partnership between the Georgia Charter Schools Association, Lake Oconee Academy and Kennesaw State University, begins in June, 2012. The program has been developed for professionals who are interested in educational entrepreneurship, with emphasis on leadership in the charter school sector.  

Lake Oconee Academy (“LOA”), a pre-K through 7th grade charter school located in Greene County, Georgia, is one of Georgia’s most highly achieving public schools. Serving a student population in which approximately 75% of the students qualify for federal free or reduced-price meals, LOA has been recognized by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Student Achievement as a Platinum School for Highest Achievement. LOA and its host school district – Greene County School District – are also considered to be a state “model” for having productive and cooperative relationship.
The Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA) is the membership organization for charter public school operators and petitioners. GCSA provides a host of signature programs and services supporting boards, leaders, teachers, and business managers. In addition, GCSA leverages partnerships with organizations and businesses that enhance the work of charter schools and assist the charters in meeting their mission. 
Kennesaw State University (“KSU”) is Georgia’s third-largest public university, and its largest preparer of Georgia educators. The Bagwell College of Education enjoys a strong reputation in educator preparation, with nationally and regionally recognized programs. In 2011, the Department of Educational Leadership partnered with state, regional and national leaders in independent and charter schools to develop Georgia’s first graduate degrees in educational leadership specifically addressing the challenges of independent and charter school leadership.
The CharterLeader EDS Grant

The CharterLeader EDS Program is the first of its type in the nation, and is expected to be extremely competitive.  Fifteen (15) candidates selected for inclusion in the program will each receive approximately $12,000.00 in financial support toward completing a performance-based leadership EDS, including:
(1)          Payment of up to 100% of tuition;
(2)          Payment of most, if not all, student fees;
(3)          An executive “coach” through the program; and
(4)          Financial support for a three (3) day retreat each semester at Lake Oconee Academy.
Candidates – or their supporting schools – may be expected to pay some nominal amounts for program participation.
At the conclusion of the program, successful candidates will not only hold an EDS degree, but will be eligible for Georgia clear, renewable leadership certification (PL-6).
About the Program

The educational specialist in performance-based educational leadership at Kennesaw State University utilizes a performance-based residency model in which eighteen (18) of the twenty-seven (27) hours of the program are built around individualized internship experiences in the candidate’s own school. The remaining nine (9) hours will be delivered in a combination of “executive” or online delivery. Candidates will be required to travel to Lake Oconee Academy (Greenesboro, Georgia) at least once a semester for a three (3) day intensive retreat.
The curriculum for the Ed.S. CharterLeader Program specifically addresses the unique charter management responsibilities and skillsets required in both academic and business administration. Throughout the program, candidates will have an individualized “leader support team” consisting of the candidate, university faculty, a performance “coach,” and a mentor from the candidate’s school. Each semester the team will design an individual induction plan outlining the candidate’s studies and specific, performance-based projects through which the candidate will demonstrate proficiency of course requirements. In addition, in each candidate’s individual induction plan each semester, the candidate’s team must select at least one (1) project per course that requires replication of a “best practice” at Lake Oconee Academy contributing to student achievement.  Because candidates are required to complete this project, the candidate’s school is guaranteed to have meaningful exposure to those practices. Additionally, at least once a semester, each candidate will rejoin the cohort at a model school site for three (3) days of discussion on residency projects and best practices.
Candidate Requirements
To enter the program, candidates must:
(1)  Be in what their school considers to be a “leadership role,” or in such a position by June 1, 2012.  A “leadership role” is not a “leadership position,” and includes any position in which the candidate exercises substantial leadership responsibility for employees or programs (such as a grade chair);
(2)  Have explicit school or school district support for the candidate while in the degree program (including signing a performance-based memorandum of understanding with Kennesaw State University);
(3)  Must possess qualities that are key to effective leadership; and,
(4)  Otherwise meet application requirements to enter the EDS in performance-based leadership at Kennesaw State University.
Candidates teaching in any Georgia public school – including charter schools – are eligible to apply. However, the program is intended for those candidates who are most interested in leading in (charter) or working with (traditional public) charter schools.