The Master of Arts in Community and Teacher Leaders at NEIU is designed to develop the knowledge and skills to foster reflective, collaborative, and transformative leaders in both community and school settings. Students learn to harness the collective knowledge of community members and educators to have a positive impact on community and school success in both traditional and non-traditional settings. Emphasis is placed on the importance of community leadership and teacher leadership in times of cultural dissonance.

Students in the M.A. in Community and Teacher Leaders program create connections between communities and schools in an effort to form partnerships that benefit all members of the neighborhood, including students, teachers, parents/guardians, and families. Graduates are intuitive and sensitive to how identity, socioeconomic status, geographical location, and individual circumstances impact youth, educators, and neighborhoods.

The M.A. program admits students for the fall, spring, and summer semesters. View the course catalog and program overview. The entire program can be completed in as little as 15 months. Online, hybrid, evening and weekend classes are available to fit the needs of working professionals.

Community and Teacher Leaders Courses

The Master of Arts in Community and Teacher Leaders consists of seven core courses and three elective courses for both Community Leader and Teacher Leader concentrations. Electives can be taken from across university offerings and are determined in consultation with a candidate’s academic program advisor.

The core courses are:

  • EDFN-410 Education as Social Institution
  • EDFN-411B Leadership in Communities and School
  • EDFN-413 Power, Communities and Change
  • EDFN-441 Digital Literacy: Learning and Leadership
  • EDFN-497 Critical Race Theory
  • EDFN-455A Seminar I
  • EDFN-455B Seminar I

All program core courses will be offered remotely from January 2022 until December 2023. This means that the weekly courses will meet virtually and synchronously on the same day of the week and at the same listed course time. There may be required course assignments or program requirements (such as meetings, orientations, ceremonies, informal gatherings, presentations, etc.), which will need to be conducted face-to-face and in-person. However, these will be sparse and students will be notified in advance. We cannot promise that all electives will be offered remotely.

The Teacher Leader Endorsement-Only option consists of the first five courses and no electives. Teachers in this program also have the opportunity to participate in a leadership summit where their seminar work and research can be presented.

View our Graduate Admission Requirements. Transfer credit earned outside of NEIU may be considered towards the master’s degree or endorsement.

Educational Leadership Concentrations

Community Leader Concentration

This concentration focuses on fostering community leadership in ethical and culturally sensitive public engagement, shaping leaders that acknowledge and consider the complexities of local and global communities and leverage community assets to promote social justice.

Teacher Leader Concentration

The Teacher Leader concentration provides knowledge and skills related to teacher leadership, mentoring and professional development. Students learn the importance of promoting a school culture that focuses on student learning, uses data to improve educational outcomes and builds collaborative relationships with stakeholders. This concentration leads to the Teacher Leader Endorsement recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Students must hold a current Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL).

Teacher Leader Endorsement (Endorsement Only option)

NEIU's Teacher Leader Endorsement (only) program allows those teachers who have a master’s degree and an Illinois Teaching License (PEL) to increase their leadership roles and job responsibilities by earning the Teacher Leader Endorsement, as recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The Teacher Leader Endorsement program builds upon the teacher's own classroom experience, knowledge, and skills to further develop the teacher's leadership and mentoring capacity that may be used school or district-wide (but not in the capacity of a school principal).

The program builds leadership skills by using research and data to improve educational outcomes, by increasing digital literacy and learning, and by fostering collaborative relationships within the school and community. These leadership skills help to promote the understanding of diverse student populations in schools so as to develop personal and school-wide success that ultimately improves the classroom, curriculum, student learning, and school culture.

Educational Leadership Careers

The M.A. in Community and Teacher Leaders program values diversity, relationships, partnerships, and coalition building among educational setting and the community. A master’s in leadership prepares students to listen, to communicate, to collaborate, and to serve as agents of change across differences in background and viewpoint as it relates to schools and communities striving for social change and educational inclusiveness. Graduates are able to pursue a multitude of careers, including:

  • Teacher Leaders
  • Department Chairs
  • Coaches
  • Professional Developers
  • Community Organizers and Activists
  • Educational Outreach Coordinator
  • School and Community-based Researchers
  • Museum Educators
  • Roles in Non-Profit Leadership and Development
  • School Board Leadership
  • Curriculum Developers
  • School and Community-Based Mentors
  • Union Leadership
  • Lead School Improvement Committees

Become a Leader at NEIU

To learn more about the master’s degree or Teacher Leader Endorsement, please contact our program coordinator at For more information, visit the Community and Teacher Leaders webpage. Or, apply now.

Completion of the Master of Arts in Community and Teacher Leaders (Teacher Leaders concentration/endorsement only) will satisfy all standards for teacher licensure as required by the Illinois State Board of Education. Northeastern Illinois University has not made a determination as to whether this education degree program meets the educational requirements for licensure or certification in any of the other 54 U.S. states and jurisdictions. Specific requirements for licensure or certification in states other than Illinois vary from state-to-state. In some cases, you may need to take additional coursework or exams to meet individual state requirements and/or you may need to complete background checks.

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