Pathways to Leadership

We are devoted to a system of growth and support for aspiring leaders.

Denver Public Schools (DPS) is able to offer multiple distinct leadership preparation programs, which provide aspiring school leaders the opportunity to develop alongside an experienced and successful principal. Whether you are interested in becoming a principal or assistant principal in a traditional neighborhood school or an innovation status school, our pathway programs can help you achieve your goals. The programs are designed to consistently prepare new leaders for DPS leadership roles by offering course content that is aligned to our LEAD Framework while supporting development that meets the aspiring leader’s career goals.

The programs fall under three categories – non-licensure residencies, alternative licensure programs and traditional licensure programs. To learn more about each program, follow the links below.

Alternative Licensure Programs

Denver Lead Today – Principal Licensure Program*

Through Denver Lead Today, highly qualified leaders from any sector can achieve alternative licensure.  Participants engage in on-the-job learning experiences, leadership mentoring, a personalized professional learning plan and coursework that is delivered through a series of classes taught by experienced DPS leaders. Candidates come to the program with a set of leadership experiences and skills that have prepared them to assume a leadership role in a DPS school, achieve licensure within three years and impact student achievement on day one. Learn More

Traditional Licensure Programs

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

(Ritchie ELSS) immerses students in graduate-level coursework, the LEAD 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. Learn More

Non-licensure residencies:

Learn to Lead – Denver Principal Residency*

DPS leaders interested in strengthening and developing knowledge and skills related to the role of a school principal. Residents work alongside the school’s principal and take on leadership responsibilities. This is designed for experienced education leaders to develop the competencies expected of principals in DPS. Learn More