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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 15-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 the Texas Principal Certification Standards and the TExES Principal Competencies. Program timeline is 15 months beginning each January and concluding the following June.

    Leadership Associates will:

    • Participate in over 200 hours of face to face training
    • Obtain 200 hours of field based experiences through an internship/practicum
    • Plan and implement an Action Research Project
    • Create a portfolio
    • Complete AEL and TTESS training/certification


    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 Exam (068) - registration fees paid directly to ETS.
    • SBEC Certification applications- fees paid directly to TEA/SBEC
    • Extended time completing the program may result in extension fees.


    *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 Certificate. Through the partnership, it can be completed within the 15 months of the CoLA program.

  • Principal - Grades EC-12


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