Develop the skills and strategies to motivate stakeholders, drive innovation, and implement transformative change in your learning organization.  

Learn how to cast vision, build staff capacity, and manage the changes required to catalyze improvement and innovation that will lead to your organization’s success. 

What Sets Us Apart

  Led by a group of interdisciplinary Penn GSE faculty
  Pathway for career advancement
 Accelerated schedule designed for working professionals

About the Program

The Penn GSE Leading School Transformation certificate program gives you the tools to bring your vision to life, design compelling signature learning experiences for adults, and identify and overcome resistance faced when change is introduced into an educational environment. By the end of this program, you will have a plan to drastically improve your educational organization. 

 Application Deadline

  • Priority Application Deadline: February 1, 2024
  • Standard Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

 Program StartMarch 12, 2024


  • Priority deadline rate: $3,000
  • Standard rate: $3,500

This program has a set of scholarships reserved for educators in the School District of Philadelphia. If you’re interested in this opportunity, please see the Scholarships section of the application.

20% off program fee available for groups of 5+ from the same organization. Contact for more information.

Length 5 consecutive weeks

  • Synchronous/Live sessions - 3 hours per week
  • Asynchronous coursework - 2 hours per week

Certificate/Licensure offered

  • Penn GSE Certificate in Leading School Transformation
  • Pennsylvania Act 48 credits

 Ideal candidates

  •  Principals, Superintendents, Headmasters, School Founders, CEOs, Instructional leaders, Administration
  • Online
Teacher Programs & Certifications

Leading change in education is challenging yet rewarding. The Penn GSE Leading School Transformation certificate program prepares leaders to cast vision, build staff capacity, and manage the changes required to catalyze improvement and innovation in public and independent K-12 schools and systems, higher education, and other educational systems.  

The program includes case studies, highlights real-world examples, and guides leaders to clarify their vision and make actual plans that they can use in their school or system to build the capacity of educators. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify innovative methods focused on school transformation 
  • Reflect on past and preferred methods 
  • Articulate a vision and case for change for your context 
  • Draft a competency framework for adult learning in your context that will serve as a north star for hiring and professional development 
  • Develop a draft of a compelling signature learning experience that connects directly to your Portrait of a Teacher and can be used for professional development 
  • Develop community practices 
  • Discuss communications strategies 
  • Identify continuous learning and improvement mechanisms that leaders can use to learn from their experiences as quickly as possible so that teachers, parents, and students have increased confidence in the change management process. 
  • Self-assess your school or system’s ability to learn 
  • Draft a plan to drastically improve organizational learning

Program Schedule

Dates/Times (ET)
Topic & Duration
March 12
5–8 pm
Articulating Your Instructional VisionSuccinctly articulate an improved vision for your learning environment and a case for change. The course will cover a range of innovative methods and real-world examples. Topics include innovative teaching methods that promote deeper disciplinary learning, enhanced student collaboration, and authentic student assignments.

March 18
5–8 pm

Building a “Portrait of a Teacher”

Consider and clarify the professional competencies that your team of educators need to have in order to deliver on the promise of your school’s unique instructional approach.
March 25
5–8 pm
Designing Signature Learning Experiences for AdultsBring to life your school’s or system’s signature learning experiences for adults. You will use a signature learning experience template builder to design adult learning experiences so that educators get practice building the skills and knowledge required for your school or system’s unique approach to learning.
April 8
5–8 pm
Getting Buy-InGrow the conviction of teachers, students, and parents to deeply believe that their school must drastically change in key ways, including what students learn, how they learn it, when and where they learn it, and more.
April 16
5–8 pm
Organizing to Execute and Organizing to LearnCreate the systems and structures needed to continuously improve while facilitating ​a​ new and improved approach to learning​.​

Program Leadership

Dr. Tyler S. Thigpen  
University of Pennsylvania


Our Faculty

Penn GSE Faculty Tim Foxx
Director, Center for School Study Councils
Penn GSE Faculty Charlotte E. Jacobs
Director, Independent School Teaching Residency
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty Michael C. Johanek
Senior Fellow
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Penn GSE Faculty Cheryl J. Logan
Executive Director McGraw Center for Educational Leadership
Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty Steve Piltch
Senior Fellow & Director, School Leadership Program
Ed. D., Harvard University
Penn GSE Faculty Jessica Richard
Associate Director, School Leadership Program
M.S.Ed., Gwynedd-Mercy University
Penn GSE Faculty Tyler Thigpen
Co-founder, The Forest School & the Institute for Self-Directed Learning
Ed.L.D., Harvard University
Penn GSE Faculty Jenny Zapf
Senior Fellow
Ph.D., University of Virginia