Charter School Leadership (Certificate)

Today’s charter schools need influential leaders to foster innovative learning formats, promote equitable opportunities, and recognize students’ diverse needs. Charter schools need passionate and character-driven leaders ready to step up and boldly face modern challenges. At Saint Mary’s, you’ll be more than prepared to become an ethical, strong leader. You’ll be ready to make a difference.

The online Charter School Leadership graduate certificate is designed for both current and aspiring directors, heads of schools, and professionals involved in management and leadership at charter schools.* It’s an opportunity to gain skills and competencies to help you move into a leadership position. At Saint Mary’s, education is our pillar. With its regional and national reputation in preparing school leaders, the School of Education has a track record of placing its graduates in school leadership positions. 

If you’re ready to step into character-based leadership, charter schools across Minnesota are searching for passionate, innovative leaders. Minnesota was the birthplace of the charter movement — and its momentum is only growing. Since the first charter was issued over 28 years ago, Minnesota’s charter schools have prospered in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and have flourished in communities across the state. In Minnesota, there are 179 charter schools for the 2021-22 school year, enrolling over 65,000 students.1

Discover a Practical, Real-World Education from Saint Mary’s 

The certificate program is rooted in Saint Mary’s mission to empower learners to ethical lives of service and leadership. Today's charter school leaders require knowledge and skills to create and manage learning and working environments that value the following: diversity and inclusion; character and integrity; instructional leadership; ethical decision-making; responsible stewardship of resources; and reflective practice aligned with the mission of charter schools. 

As a future leader, you’ll understand that a charter school's mission and vision statements drive all aspects of the school, including its instructional program. You’ll learn effective teaching strategies to be a supportive supervisor of instruction. Our faculty have first-hand charter school experience, providing you the fundamentals of standards-based curriculum, data-driven instruction, and culturally and responsive teaching. 

Make an Impact With a Charter School Leadership Graduate Certificate From Saint Mary’s

As a leader, you’ll foster and implement change. Becoming a change-maker requires placing organization theories and leadership skills into practice and creating a holistic plan that relies on informed data. You’ll learn how to provide an inclusive space for collaborating with stakeholders and how it can cultivate a culture of change.

"Through the steps of designing and planning, authorizing, and on to enrollment and operations, Saint Mary's is excited to offer this certificate program in Charter School Leadership. Assisting in the process of achieving and maintaining success has long been a hallmark in preparation of educational leadership for our graduates."

- Craig Sundberg, Program Director, Ed.S. Educational Administration Program


Holistic Leadership, From Ethics to Operations

Ethical Leadership is Our Mission 

Rooted in our core Lasallian Catholic heritage, Saint Mary’s empowers learners to ethical lives of service and leadership. As you learn how to run day-to-day operations and establish relationships with students, faculty, and stakeholders, you’ll be prepared to lead with character and integrity. 

Organizational Management is Our Focus

By combining leadership and organizational management skills, you’ll learn to transform ideas into real-world successes. Gain a thorough grounding of the following critical organizational management skills: 

  • Budget allocation
  • Compliance
  • Financial management
  • Funding
  • Human resource management
  • Interagency service agreements
  • Lease agreements 
  • Legal and contractor staff requirements 
  • Legal frameworks 
  • Marketing and fundraising
  • Planning and reporting policies

Career-Minded, Future-Focused

Keep moving toward your goals. We’re here for you every step of the way. Balance all of life’s demands and earn a graduate certificate in as little as one year. Saint Mary’s offers supportive academic and student services for busy, working adults. Plus, with supportive and engaging instructors, you’ll be on the right path toward a new career and future. 

Take your career even further at Saint Mary's. As you work toward earning your certificate from Saint Mary’s, you’ll build a set of highly-desired skills you can apply the next day in your current role. Once you’ve completed your certificate, pursue a full master’s degree from Saint Mary’s. Credits earned in this graduate certificate program can be applied toward the following convenient, affordable master’s degree programs: 

M.A. in Education All credits can be applied to this program.

Program Outcomes

  • Equip candidates with the skills, knowledge, and dispositions necessary to serve as educational leaders with an emphasis on the special needs of a charter school environment. 
  • Demonstrate professional, reflective, ethical, collaborative, and intentional leadership practices. 
  • Articulate a charter school vision and mission that identifies unique program features and appeals to a diverse, heterogeneous student population and school community, and uses it to drive decision making. 
  • Develop a course of action regarding the financial, human/material resource, and operations aspects of charter school leadership. 
  • Apply leadership skills around fundamental aspects of charter school operations through creation and implementation of necessary policies and procedures. 
  • Create assessment and accountability measures that critically evaluate school structures, systems, and curriculum ensuring alignment with school vision and mission and demonstrate program success to all stakeholders, including the Minnesota Department of Education and school authorizers. 
  • Exhibit practical moral wisdom, necessary character traits, and ethical behavior consistently to multiple leadership contexts.

1 Advocacy: Minnesota's Charter School Story - MN Association of Charter Schools at (visited December 14, 2021).


Craig Sundberg, M.A.

Program Director

M.A. in Educational Leadership

Mother Teresa Hall, MTH 19

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5143

Meet Craig Sundberg
Carl Wahlstrom, Ed.D.

Associate Program Director

Educational Specialist and Educational Administration Programs

Mother Teresa Hall, MTH 21

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 238-4539

Carl Wahlstrom Ed.D.