Public School Building Leadership SPA NY EdM

Master of Education in Public School Building Leadership

The Summer Principals Academy (SPA) at Teachers College, Columbia University is a transformative graduate program that is committed to promoting equity and excellence in education and overcoming the gap in educational access and achievement between the most and least advantaged groups in this country. To achieve this goal, our aspiring school leaders are encouraged to construct transforming possibilities for student learning, school improvement, social equity, and opportunity. While some principal preparation programs are content to prepare school leaders to perpetuate schools as they currently exist, SPA strives to prepare leaders to create the innovative schools that our nation and world need.

Our cohort model allows courses to be delivered over two consecutive five-week summer sessions and the Administrative Internship takes place during the  intervening school year, where our graduate students are already place allowing them to maintain their jobs in their current schools while earning their degree. 

Students’ studies in SPA conclude with the New School Design Project which serves as the capstone to the degree.

New York State Education Department (NYSED) has teacher certification requirements that are needed for program completion and graduation which are listed in the Office of Teacher Education.

The Master of Education (Ed.M.) program is an advanced masters degree for aspiring urban principals who have a minimum of 24 credits of previously earned graduate work. Those credits are transferred into the program, reducing the credit load to 36 credits.

Master of Education

  • Major Code: ELBL-INIT
  • Points/Credits: 60 (including transferred graduate coursework)
  • Entry Terms: Summer Only


  • NY State School Building Leadership (SBL) Certification

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): December 15
  • Summer/Fall (Final): January 15

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • Principal Endorsement Form
  • Supplemental application and Teaching Video required (included in online application)
  • Must hold master's degree
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation, one (1) of which must be from current supervisor or principal

Supplemental Teaching Video

The SPA New York program requires all applicants to submit a 12-15 minute teaching video. The video will provide the admission committee with an opportunity to view your pedagogical practices in your school context. Please ensure that the video includes evidence of:

  • Direct instruction
  • Small group instruction
  • Supporting students through the learning process
  • Teaching to meet the diverse needs of all learners

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is available via our application. We ask that you describe a leadership experience and what you learned from that experience. In addition, we ask for a topic essay which focuses on racial equity.

To read the full questions and see the details in full, please begin your application!

Apply Now


For full descriptions of our courses, please see the courses section of our website.

Summer I

ORLA 4001: Introduction to School Leadership and Decision Making (3 Credits)
ORLA 5018: Adult Development (3 Credits)
ORLA 5029: Supervision of Teaching and Learning (3 Credits)
ORLJ 5340: Practicum in Conflict Resolution (3 Credits)
ORLA 6020: Pro-Seminar in Leadership Development (3 Credits ea, 2 Summer Course)

Fall and Spring Semesters

ORLA 5532: Program Development: Teaching, Learning and Assessment (Continuation of ORLA 5029, Summer I)
ORLA 6460: Internship in School Leadership (6 Credits, 450 Hours)

Summer II

ORLA 4033: Ethical and Legal Issues in Education Leadership (3 Credits)
ORLA 4025: Resource Allocation for Student Achievement (3 Credits)
ORLA 5025: The Ecology of Data-Driven Leadership (3 Credits)
ORLA 5012: Social Context of Education (3 Credits)
ORLA 6020 Summer II: Leadership for Social Justice

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