Texas Principal Leadership Academy

Graduate students enjoying a lecture.

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Debra Cantu

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Terrance Green

The Texas Principal Leadership Academy (TPLA) is a 12-month Master's in Education (M.Ed.) program designed to prepare graduates to take the Principal as Instructional Leader EC-12 exam and become leaders of socially just, equitable, and high-achieving public schools in Texas. Our graduates’ first-time exam passing rate is typically 97%, exceeding the state average.

Thanks to our track record in the employment of principal and assistant principal roles within three years of graduation, our program has earned a Certificate of Commendation from the Texas Education Agency and the State Board of Educator Certification in the category of Preparing Educators for Long Term Success for the second year in a row.

TPLA is built on the strengths and historic legacy of preparing public school leaders within our top-ranked Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. The Academy represents the next iteration of our Principalship Program, which has been re-designed and streamlined to meet the needs of school districts across Texas.

TPLA’s purpose is to develop 1,000 new reform-minded, culturally responsive, data-savvy, and instructional school leaders for public schools in Texas by 2040. These new leaders will relentlessly pursue equity and excellence for all children, an especially urgent priority in light of Texas’s changing demographic landscape.

This program starts in the Summer semester only. You must select the “Summer” semester in the ApplyTexas application. If you apply to the wrong semester or incorrect program track in the Educational Leadership and Policy department in the ApplyTexas application, you could be subject to additional application fees.

Learn more about certification requirements on the Texas Education Agency's website.


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Debra Cantú

Associate Professor of Practice

Coordinates learning objectives, knowledge development, and practical experiences through internships that contribute to a cohesive, high quality education in administration.

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Norma Cantú, J.D.

Ken McIntyre Professor for Excellence in School Leadership

With a background as assistant secretary of education for Civil Rights in the Clinton Administration, she teaches topics in civil rights and the intersection of law and policy in education.

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David E. DeMatthews

Associate Professor

Focuses on urban school and district leadership, inclusive practices for students with disabilities, and school improvement with an emphasis on addressing inequities in classrooms, schools, and communities.

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Terrance Green

Associate Professor

Examines principals and school-community engagement/community development, and issues of educational equity and opportunity.

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Rubén D. Olivárez

L. D. Haskew Centennial Professor in Public School Administration

Advocates for social justice and equal educational opportunities for all students, and stresses the importance of teachers in education and principals as a key to school effectiveness.

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Pedro Reyes

Ashbel Smith Professor of Education Policy

Focuses on school conditions that foster high academic success for children of poverty, stratification of learning opportunities for children of color, and on state policy that facilitates student success across the education pipeline.

Clinical and Adjunct Faculty

Photo of Chris Elizalde

Chris Elizalde

Assistant Professor of Practice

Focuses on preparing school professionals to address legal issues they will be required to consider as administrators based on her significant experience advising and representing public school officials and administrators in legal matters.

Glenn Nolly

Assistant Professor of Practice

Focuses on social justice leadership as well as specific strategies to create optimal learning environments for students and teachers.

Trinidad San Miguel

Trinidad San Miguel

Assistant Professor of Practice

Supports school leaders in their efforts to implement continuous improvement strategies that promote growth for self, staff, students, and community in his role as an external campus intervention team member, professional service provider and effective school framework facilitator.