Program Overview

danforth program overview

The Danforth Educational Leadership Program is an intensive, one-year program for educators who are pursuing principal certification, program administrator certification or both. There is also an option to earn a master's degree in education from the University of Washington while completing the Danforth program.

Distinctive features of the Danforth program include the following:


    Danforth participants explore key coursework while learning alongside a group of dedicated educators, a format that forges tight bonds and lets students learn from instructors and their fellow cohort members.


    During the program, participants complete a rigorous on-site internship experience with a veteran mentor principal and/or program administrator. The internship involves a commitment of 1,000 hours minimum of leadership experience.


    A UW advocate provides each participant with guidance and support on internship practices and requirements. UW advocates are experienced school or district-level leaders who assist interns with professional growth opportunities.


    Instructors use a module-based method of teaching aligned to national and state standards. Program faculty and expert practitioners co-teach a rigorous curriculum that requires direct experience in the essential work of educational leaders.


    Members of each year's cohort participate in an intensive, multiday residential experience that focuses on helping you make the transition from your current educational role to expanded school- and district-level leadership impact.


    Our graduates are backed by a performance guarantee, ensuring that you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to thrive in today's challenging school leadership positions. Graduates will receive additional follow-up support if necessary.

Program Format and Schedule

The Danforth program spans four quarters and consists of 36 credits 24 for core classroom courses and 12 for the internship, which includes a reflective seminar in the classroom. Those also earning a master's degree will take an additional 9 credits for a total of 45 credits.

See Important Dates & Deadlines and the Danforth 28 Academic Calendar for details about the program schedule and application timeline.

Guiding Principles

The Danforth program is modeled to reflect and impart the following guiding principles, which were developed by UW faculty and educational leaders in the field.

  • Equity and Excellence

    A successful pluralistic, democratic society requires that every student receives a quality education in public schools. Educational leaders are morally obligated to ensure that the twin goals of equity and excellence are the number one priority of educators in their schools.

  • Leadership

    Educational leadership is the exercise of significant and responsible influence and includes – but is not limited to – the skill of management. Significant leadership requires the articulation, justification and protection of the core set of educational values that underlie the purposes and functions of schools.

  • Organized Change

    Schools must be dynamic and renewing educational organizations. Educational leaders must nurture and sustain the processes of dialogue, decision making, action and evaluation that lead to the improvement of schools as places for excellent teaching and learning.

  • Collaboration

    Educational leadership is crucial at all levels of schooling. Administrators must create and support opportunities for the authentic involvement of all educators in organizational change and school improvement.

  • Inquiry and Reflective Practice

    Educational leaders must be committed to the importance and use of knowledge. Effective leaders should be able to reflect critically on all practices in their schools and promote the importance of inquiry as a professional responsibility of all educators.

  • Teaching and Learning

    Educational leaders must thoroughly understand the link between teaching and student learning. As supervisors, they must have the skills to work effectively with adults to analyze instruction, facilitate quality lesson planning and measure student learning outcomes. They must build instructional capacity and guide the professional development of staff toward improved instruction that leads to better student outcomes.

At a Glance

Credits: 36 (45 for master's students)
Learning Format: Classroom (cohort based) and on-site (internship)
Length: 1 year
Estimated Cost:* $23,355 ($28,855 for master's)

*20152016 tuition


We are happy to answer your questions and provide more information about the Danforth Educational Leadership Program.

Any program can teach you how to lead. Danforth requires you to grapple with the real challenges of social justice leadership: building relationships, striving for transformative change, dealing with moral dilemmas, keeping students at the core of everything we do. It is not an exaggeration to say that the lessons I learned during that transformative, intensive year in Danforth informs my leadership every single day.

Dedy Fauntleroy, Danforth 25

The value of the cohort model is immense and hard for me to put into words. The cohort ensured that I stayed true to my personal values, the overall Danforth values and the added values of the cohort – all of which were defined and examined throughout the course of the year.

Melissa Rysemus, Danforth 25