Horizon Leadership Academy | Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators

Earn a Central Office Endorsement on an Administrator Certificate through MASA’s Horizon Leadership Academy!


Individuals who previously participated in the Horizon Leadership Academy Program and completed 10 sessions, but who did not finish, may elect to do so by registering for the Horizon 2D (virtual) or Horizon 2E (in person) so they may earn their credentials. Visit the Horizon Year 2 page for more information.

Apply for
Horizon Leadership Academy 2.0

New cohorts begin October 2022

Application deadline: September 1, 2022


Application Process:

  • Click the apply button to the right to submit interest and $150 application fee.
  • Once the application fee is received, candidates will receive a link for the HLA Application.
  • Candidates will be notified of their application status within two weeks of submission.
  • Applications are due by September 1, 2022

MASA is authorized through the Michigan Department of Education to issue Administrator Certificates with a Central Office Endorsement using an alternate pathway to certification. 

The Horizon Leadership Academy (HLA) focuses on strengthening leadership skills and strategies that equip school leaders to become effective central office first-line assistants and superintendents.

HLA is aligned to the approved Michigan Standards for the Preparation of Central Office Administrators as well as the National Education Leadership Standards (NELPS) – District Level. The program is designed for new superintendents, aspiring superintendents, central office administrators, and building administrators and directors who are looking for a job-embedded and authentic avenue to earn their Central Office Endorsement (CO) on their current administrative certificate.

For those who do not yet possess a certificate, candidates can earn an administrative certificate and central office endorsement as a package. 

**Please note, if you are aspiring to be a building-level principal and earn your (ES) Endorsement, please refer to the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals Path to Leadership Program.

Throughout your HLA experience, you will work with cohort members to network and learn about the skills and expected proficiencies of central office leaders and superintendents, while connecting to the actual work and initiatives within your own district. Cohort members are expected to complete all assigned homework and course projects, identify a mentor, and complete a 260-hour internship/clinical experience. You will engage in meaningful projects within and for your district, to assure immediate application of skills learned within the course. Throughout the course, candidates will create a digital portfolio of their projects demonstrating their application of competencies.

Program Content and Skills Overview: 

  • Using Influential Leadership Strategies 
  • Leading Activities that Foster School Climate and Culture 
  • Ensuring Equity in Education 
  • Understanding Individuals’ Perspectives, Needs, and Behaviors 
  • Using Coaching Strategies across Various Scenarios and Situations 
  • Leading, Implementing, and Measuring Strategic Planning Initiatives 
  • Leading Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology as part of Continuous Improvement 
  • Leading and Supporting Instructional Staff for Student Success 
  • Using Effective Communication to Educate, Support, Influence, and Advocate
  • Facilitating School Operations and Management 
  • Developing Effective Teams and Addressing Group Dynamics 
  • Leading and Fostering Family and Community Engagement
  • Establishing effective Board Governance and Superintendent Relationships
  • Demonstrating accountability with School Law, Policies, Regulations 
  • Operationalizing School Budget and Financial Planning 
  • Expanding knowledge and strategies for Effective  Labor Relations (Relationships, Contract Negotiations and Administration)

Program Cost

This is a tuition-based program.

$150 non-refundable application fee

$9,500* including materials/resources (billable over two fiscal years)

There are no refunds after the cohort begins in October 2022.

*additional costs may apply for missed sessions required for make-up

Eligibility Requirements for Enrollment

  1. Degree requirement:
    As per R380.105 (1246(1)(b): Candidate must possess a Master’s or Higher Degree, OR A Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 3 years of experience performing work at the Central Office level (e.g. a District Business Official, Human Resource Director, State & Federal Programs Director etc).
    *If the candidate is seeking admission with only a Bachelor’s Degree, MASA requires a letter of recommendation from the superintendent attesting to the individual’s skills and experience, along with a contract of employment or job description for the three years of service in this capacity.)
  2. Completion of MASA Horizon Leadership Academy application
  3. Submission of most recent college/university transcripts

Additional Requirements

  1. Each candidate, along with HLA faculty, will mutually select a mentor for the duration of the program.
  2. Each candidate will complete an internship/clinical experience of 260 hours over the course of a minimum six-month period.
  3. A $150 non-refundable application fee is due at the time of application.
  4. Once accepted, at least 50% of the tuition fee must be paid by September 1, 2022, with the remaining balance paid by August 1, 2023.
  5. Please review the dates listed below and confirm your availability to participate with your district/supervisor. Given the nature of the program, attendance is required at all sessions.
  6. Confirm your understanding of the terms/conditions defined in the application.

New Cohorts Starting October 2022

Please reserve the following dates on your calendar for either the in-person or virtual option:

Fall 2022 – Virtual Cohort

9 a.m. – 4 p.m. EST
(via Zoom)

  • October 26-27, 2022
  • January 12-13, 2023
  • February 9-10, 2023
  • March 9-10, 2023
  • May 11-12, 2023
  • June 22-23, 2023
  • August 10-11, 2023
  • October 19-20, 2023
  • November 9-10, 2023
  • January 25-26, 2024
  • February 15-16, 2024
  • April 17-18, 2024
  • May 14, 2024

Fall 2022 – In-Person Cohort*

9 a.m. – 4 p.m. EST
(MELG Building – Lansing)

  • October 24-25, 2022
  • January 9-10, 2023
  • February 6-7, 2023
  • March 6-7, 2023
  • May 8-9, 2023
  • June 19-20, 2023
  • August 7-8, 2023
  • October 16-17, 2023
  • November 6-7, 2023
  • January 22-23, 2024
  • February 12-13, 2024
  • April 15-16, 2024
  • May 13, 2024

*Location and delivery mode subject to change due to pandemic and/or enrollment numbers

Given the structure/format of this alternative pathway program, attendance at each session is mandatory.

Satisfactorily completing the Horizon Leadership Academy Program will earn candidates a Central Office Endorsement on their current Administrative Certificate and 120 SCECH credits.

Candidates who do not currently hold a building level certificate/endorsement may earn their school administrator certificate concurrently by completing an additional 260-hour internship experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

An endorsement is a credential placed on a school administrator certificate that signals that the individual has earned it by going through a program of study designed to focus on skills centered around a particular area. The Central Office Endorsement in the Horizon Leadership Academy Program attests that the holder has learned and can apply the skills needed to be successful at the central office level. An endorsement is transferable and may be recognized in other states beyond Michigan.

We place a high value on participants attending every session and provide the dates in advance so that you may arrange your schedule accordingly. This program incorporates active problem-solving and networking between cohort participants, which is impossible to do when you are not present. If an emergency or extenuating situation presents itself and you miss, you will need to contact your trainer to discuss next steps.

Yes. You will be expected to complete readings, watch short videos, and complete assigned projects and papers related to what you are learning in class. The homework and projects are job-embedded, however, and will contribute not only to your professional growth, but also will benefit your school district. The program has been designed with the knowledge our cohort members are working professionals. Our participants appreciate that they can immediately apply what they are learning, and that the projects aren’t just “one more thing” – rather, they provide support to their current district’s priority work and initiatives. You will be regularly meeting with your mentor, making recommendations based upon your learning, and completing a digital portfolio. For those concurrently earning a school certificate, you will also need to complete your 260-hour internship.

Yes, by satisfactorily completing the program by attending all sessions, submitting all projects, papers, etc. and completing your 260-hour internship you will earn your School Administrator Certificate with a Central Office Endorsement.

Yes, if you have a current School Administrator Certificate, you will earn 120 SCECHs and your Central Office Endorsement providing you satisfactorily meet program requirements. If you do not have your School Administrator Certificate, you may earn SCECHs, but they will not be on top of your School Administrator Certificate. Rather, they will count toward the renewal of your Teaching Certificate.

Many districts require a Central Office Endorsement for the positions of superintendent, assistant superintendent, director, or other central office positions.

Every situation is different. We recommend you contact Dr. Brian Davis, Associate Executive Director of Professional Learning to discuss your unique situation.  

Phone:(517) 885-3089

No. You must attend all of the sessions and complete all program requirements in order to earn a School Administrator Certificate and Central Office Endorsement.


For additional questions or more information, please contact Dr. Brian Davis, MASA Associate Executive Director of Professional Learning at (517) 885-3089 or bdavis@gomasa.org