Are you in need of a Michigan K-12 administrator certification or do you know a colleague who is? Consider the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principal’s (MASSP) alternative route to K-12 administrator certification: the Path to Leadership program. Applications for Cohort #30 of this highly successful program
are currently being accepted, with subsequent cohorts planned for this school year.

You may not have realized it, but MASSP is the only state-approved alternative provider of this certification, offering a one-year, online-based program. The goal of the Path to Leadership program is to provide participants with an alternative route to earning a Michigan K-12 administrator certificate at an affordable cost and in a manageable time frame. Candidates for t
he program include current administrators and school personnel, including those aspiring to the principalship.

Who needs certification

Remember that Michigan state law requires any person employed as a school administrator (at public and private schools and academies) after January 4, 2010, to hold a valid school administrator certificate or be enrolled in a program leading to certification not later than six months after beginning employment. The person then has three years to complete program requirements and become certified.

Any school administrator who was employed before January 4, 2010, and has documentation to demonstrate the completion of all state continuing education requirements is not required by the state to hold an administrator certification. However, remember that this is at your hiring district’s discretion. If you change districts and/or have a new position or contract, then the certification requirement may apply to you.

Don’t take a chance

MDE’s Office of Professional Preparation Services (OPPS), which handles all certification oversight, has recently increased auditing of administrator certification ​across the state and found educators who are out of compliance – many of whom have made headlines. In addition, the MDE also ha​s​ found that some districts, public school academies and ISDs are hiring or contracting “temporary” or “interim” school administrators. These administrators are then removed from positions after the six-month mark and rehired to begin another temporary period of employment. Restarting a contract or employment date does not reset the six-month time limit.

Working in a position and not following the letter of the law is a risk for both the hiring entity and the individual. It’s not worth taking such a chance – you could find yourself permanently out of a job and your district fined.

Chelsey M.B. Martinez is director of communications and assistant director of government relations for the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals. Contact her at

Get started with Path to Leadership

For more information or to enroll in the Path to Leadership program, please visit There you will find a multi-page downloadable program guide, which includes the answers to many frequently asked questions and a step-by-step checklist to apply to the program. For additional questions about the program, please do not hesitate to contact the MASSP Path to Leadership office at (231) 335-PATH or e-mail