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The Center for Educational Leadership began in 2010 as a collaborative effort between the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences and local school districts to grow and support the next generation of school leaders in our region and to meaningfully enhance educational leadership in Tennessee.

We take an innovative multidisciplinary approach to school leadership development and integrate research-tested education leadership theory with proven, effective practice. Coursework, site-based immersion learning experiences, and consultation with effective practicing principals are complemented by continuous learning opportunities and a leadership resource center. This comprehensive approach to principal preparation sets a new standard in the field of public education leadership development.

A unique partnership with local school districts is a defining element in the structure of the center, which focuses on formal preparation as well as career-long professional development of educational leaders. The strong relationship between leadership excellence and school excellence provides the catalyst for the center, which is based on the premise that great leaders create great schools. They build a strong team, focus relentlessly on student learning, facilitate continuous improvement in instructional practice, engage parents and the school community, and make sure that all adults are focusing on the outcomes for the children. Schools are simply better at educating young people when they have strong, effective leadership.

We believe that leadership matters. At the Center for Educational Leadership, we believe our youth must receive an outstanding education in order to access economic opportunity, meaningfully participate in our democracy, and achieve success and fulfillment in life. We further believe (reinforced by substantial evidence) that our children will only enjoy such an outstanding education if their school is led by an excellent principal. We believe the future vitality of our community, our region, our state, and even our nation, therefore, truly depends on our collective commitment to developing exemplary school leadership. That is why we do the work we do, because school leadership matters—for our children and for all of us.