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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 program of training and field-based work designed to develop and prepare quality school leaders in San Antonio and the surrounding areas.

The CoLA Program is currently accepting applications from aspiring administrators to join

Cohort 23 - June 2020

Application deadline is Friday, May 1, 2020

Complete your CoLA online application today!

  • 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:

    Leadership Associates successfully completing all CoLA program requirements, to include obtaining a passing score on both the TExES 268 Principal Examination and the Performance Assessment for School Leaders- PASL (368), will be eligible for the Principal as Instructional Leader Standard Principal Certificate.

    Program Training

    Leadership Associates will participate in over 200 hours of leadership training within the six courses listed below.  Advancing Educational Leadership (AEL) and T-TESS training are both included in the program. Training sessions will take place at ESC-20; however, online accessibility, via Zoom or online modules, are available for specific sessions.

    Instructional Leadership
    Appraisal Development
    School Leadership
    Home/School/Community Relations
    School Finance, Policy, and Law

    Field Based Practicum

    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 support, to include multiple opportunities for involvement in campus leadership activities.  The campus administrator will serve as the leadership associate’s Site Supervisor and mentor throughout the extent of the program and will be required to participate in 2 hours of online training. 

    Leadership Associates will be responsible for the following, under the guidance of their Site Supervisor:

    • Obtain 200 hours of on campus field based leadership experiences.
    • 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 the areas of: 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.


    All CoLA program components are aligned with the TAC §241.15 Standards Required for the Principal Certificate and the TExES 268 Examination Framework.


    CoLA Handbook 2019-2020.pdf

  • The CoLA program offers certification tracks between 16 and 19 months with various entry points throughout the year to best support the work and life balance of our aspiring administrators.  Cohorts begin every January, June, and September.

    Each track provides sufficient time for leadership training, field based experiences and application of acquired skills in preparation for certification examinations.


    January Start

    January Start
    UIW Track

    June Start

    September Start


    Leadership training, project planning and implementation, and exam preparation and administration.

    Anticipated Certification Eligibility: April

    Leadership training, project planning and implementation, and exam preparation and administration.

    Completion of university courses.

    Anticipated Certification Eligibility: July





    Leadership training, project planning and implementation, and exam preparation and administration.

    Anticipated Certification Eligibility: November




    Leadership training, project planning and implementation, and exam preparation and administration.

    Anticipated Certification Eligibility: November








    16 months

    19 months

    18 months

    15 months

    Application Deadline

    1st Friday of December

    1st Friday of December

    1st Friday of May

    1st Friday of August

    Orientation Date

    2nd Saturday in January

    2nd Saturday in January

    2nd Saturday in June

    2nd Saturday in September

  • University of Incarnate Word Logo

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

    The UIW Partnership Track is available with the January Start Cohort.  Program cost for participation in this partnership is calculated based on the current year’s UIW tuition and fee schedule.  Individuals participating in the UIW Partnership are required to complete an online application through both CoLA and University of the Incarnate Word.

    For more information on the UIW partnership, please attend a free CoLA Information Session, where a UIW representative will be present to answer specific questions.

    *A Master’s degree must be conferred prior to being recommended for a Texas Standard Principal as Instructional Leader Certificate.


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