University of Denver Morgridge College of Education – DPS Ritchie Program for School Leaders: Executive Leadership for Successful Schools (Ritchie ELSS)


Learn more about the program. 

Please reach out to Susan Korach,, or Dana Williams, if you have any questions.

Program Overview

(Ritchie ELSS) immerses students in graduate-level coursework, the DPS School Leadership Framework and project-based learning that prepares them for school leadership positions upon program completion. We approach this preparation through the use of improvement science, inclusive excellence, 21st century teaching and learning, and transformative leadership. Content is individualized to the leadership needs of the aspiring leader and the needs of the school the leader serves at as the site of the internship. The 30-quarter-hour curriculum for the Certificate, leading to a principal license, integrates coursework with an internship supported by a mentor principal and is completed in one calendar year. The MA in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies builds from the Certificate and consists of an additional 15 quarter-hour curriculum that consists of a deeper view of equity, design thinking, and action research for an additional three quarters. Learning is fostered through a blended cohort of interactive online study, a three-day summer retreat, 10 Saturday cohort workshops and webinars, monthly evening seminars, and an internship. The curriculum is aligned to meet state and national standards for educational leadership excellence.

Program Philosophy and Mission

The ELPS mission is to be a force for positive change in the lives of individuals, organizations and communities through unleashing the power of learning.

We accomplish our mission in four ways:

  • Through preparing highly competent, socially responsible, ethical and caring professionals to promote learning in diverse settings.
  • Through actively reaching out beyond our College to engage in learning partnerships with others.
  • Through contributing high-quality research to our respective fields.
  • Through modeling excellence in all of our own educational programs.

The program prepares relentless, courageous, and effective instructional leaders who are knowledgeable, highly skilled and committed to building learning communities designed to accelerate the achievement and success of each and every student. Graduates are prepared to serve students with diverse backgrounds and needs. The Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program focuses not only developing the skills and abilities necessary for success as a school leaders but also on developing a strong commitment to core values, collaborative norms and a reflective process essential for ethical and responsible leadership.

Program Format

Ritchie Program for School Leaders:

  • 30 credit hour blended online delivery model with 2-3 Saturday sessions per quarter (10 days per year), one Thursday afternoon per month, and weekly online interactions within a cohort
  • Internship integrated with current position
  • Project-based learning experiences and internship opportunities that are integrated with coursework and supported by a mentor principal

Message to Applicants

The Ritchie Program for School Leaders immerses students in graduate-level coursework and project-based learning that prepares them to meet the challenges within complex systems. Each student’s experience is customized to their individual needs and the school where they work. Throughout the program, students are mentored by DU faculty and experienced DPS leaders. Upon completion of the licensure program, students many choose to continue with 15 additional credit hours to complete a Master’s degree. Please also see DPS Ritchie Program brochure.