HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) — Centenary University has introduced a four-course program leading to a Teacher Leader Endorsement (TLE) for certified New Jersey teachers who want to expand their professional opportunities and improve their leadership skills.
The courses are also included in Centenary’s Master of Education in Educational Practices program, making the TLE an excellent stepping stone toward a master’s degree.
TLE certification was enacted by the State of New Jersey in 2015 as an incentive for teachers to gain the skills to take on leadership roles in their schools. These might include serving as instructional coaches, new-hire mentors or team leaders; leading professional development programs; being involved in curriculum design and development; or planning community/family events.
According to a 2017 report by the New Jersey Teacher Leader Endorsement Advisory Board, the TLE increases educator skillsets and retention and leads to better outcomes for students. TLE certification increases opportunities for teachers to develop their own skills and those of other teachers in their schools.
Centenary was approved to offer the TLE in spring 2020, according to Erica McCrystal, Ph.D., assistant professor and graduate director of the Master in Educational Practice and Teacher Leader Endorsement program at Centenary. She said the four courses required for TLE are an excellent entryway for moving on to a master’s program, which is now enrolling students for Centenary’s spring 2021 semester.
Classes are offered online, with an in-person clinical experience at the teacher’s school, where the TLE candidate works with a teacher-leader to review coursework and act as a mentor for professional development. The TLE program can be completed in one year, after which candidates must pass a state test to earn certification.
Applicants for the TLE must be certified in the state of New Jersey, and have at least four years of teaching experience by the end of the program and positive evaluations.