The Teaching Trust Aspiring Leaders Program prepares future school leaders to drive sustainable academic improvement in complex urban schools.


The Aspiring Leaders Program is a rigorous, competency-based program that prepares existing educators to grow into transformational urban school leaders. In year one, Aspiring Leaders take courses at Southern Methodist University’s Annette Caldwell School of Education and Human Development, taught by SMU faculty and Teaching Trust staff, while working full-time in their current role as educators. In the second year, Aspiring Leaders serve in an on-campus leadership role for a Residency year, where they can begin to implement strategies and skills in real-time as coaches, assistant principals, or principals. At the end of year two, Residents earn their M.Ed. in Educational Leadership with a specialization in Urban School Leadership from SMU and complete their principal certification. The two-year masters degree is followed by three years of ongoing support and development tailored to leaders' individual needs. Aspiring Leaders empowers educators to build an aspirational school culture while supporting high-quality instruction in every classroom. 


The Aspiring Leaders application deadline closed on February 11, 2018. Please revisit our website in the fall of 2018 for more information.



  • Earn an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership with Urban School Specialization from Southern Methodist University
  • Earn a probationary Principal Certification after one year
  • Engage in one-on-one coaching and feedback from a former urban school leader to accelerate your professional growth
  • Participate in a year-long practice-based Residency in a school leadership position to implement best-practices on a school campus
  • Receive three additional years of professional development and on-the-job support following completion of the master’s degree
  • Develop competency-based skills and personal trust-building behaviors critical for effective urban school leadership
  • Learn alongside a cohort of values-aligned, influential change-makers


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