First Graduates of MA in School Leadership

June 1, 2023

MA School Leadership grads
The School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership graduated its first cohort in a new master’s program, the MA in School Leadership, in December 2022.

The program provides two tracks — one for leaders seeking Texas principal certification and one for leaders of independent or non-Texas schools. The first cohort included 12 following the Texas track and 15 from independent schools. Cohort One graduates taking Texas exams achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the two required exams — the Principal Certification Exam and the Performance Assessment for School Leaders.

MASL 100% graphicEckert said the importance of good school leadership cannot be overstated, and he is thrilled to be preparing leaders at Baylor.

“The reason I came to Baylor four years ago was to help develop Christians for school leadership to serve schools wherever they were called,” Eckert said. “In 2021, in the middle of the pandemic, 27 leaders from eight different states started our new master's program. All 27 graduated. What a blessing to walk alongside these amazing leaders and see a dream come to fruition. God is good.”

The program is designed for emerging Christian leaders in education, and applicants need at least two years of experience in schools. A new cohort launches each year in June with commencement the following December. The hybrid program is designed for working K-12 educators and is online during the school year. Students gather on the Baylor campus for intensive academic sessions each June.

Graduate Africa Jones, a K-5 principal at City School in Philadelphia, Penn., said that the program was instrumental in developing the leadership that was already within her. “I have learned how to apply collective leadership in my school context,” she said. “It has given me all the tools I need to implement God’s call to leadership to impact the teachers I serve, the students, the parents, and the school community at large.”

Jackie Villarreal, assistant principal at Spring Valley Elementary in Midway ISD, said the program transformed her as a school leader. “I’m completely changed from when I came in,” she said after December commencement. “The difference you might not find somewhere else is that faith is at the center. At first, I wondered how that would help me as a [public] school leader, but now I realize that it is the center of everything I do and the catalyst from which all school change happens.”

Cohort Two, which started in June of 2022, includes leaders from 10 states. There are 18 leaders from public schools and 12 following the track for independent schools.