Catholic School Leadership Preliminary Administrator License (Pre-AL)

In the summer of 2015, the Pacific Alliance for Catholic Education (PACE) and the University of Portland School of Education launched the Catholic School Leadership Preliminary Administrator License (Pre-AL) program, an exciting initiative to support the development of effective and inspirational leadership in Catholic schools. For more than 17 years, PACE has been preparing and sustaining the next generation of Catholic school educators. Now, in response to an identified need from school and diocesan partners, we are working with experienced Catholic school administrators to develop and mentor the next generation of Catholic school leaders.

Designed to prepare Catholic school leaders for the 21st century, and crafted with practicing educators in mind, the program will support Catholic leadership candidates in a unique program that is:

  • Transformative
  • Faith-filled
  • Cohort-based
  • Accessible
  • Affordable
  • Aligned with National Catholic Elementary and Secondary School Standards, NCEA and State of Oregon Effective Educator Administrator and ISLCC Standards.

Institutional and Spiritual Leadership

As Portland's premier institution preparing teachers and leaders, the School of Education has long delivered an preliminary administrator license (Pre-AL) based on national administrative standards and a review of over 100 administrative training programs throughout the United States. The Catholic School Leadership Pre-AL is a variation on this existing Pre-AL, with a specific focus on the distinct experience of leadership in the Catholic P-12 milieu. Combining innovative coursework and faculty expertise with applied research and best practices, the Catholic School Leadership Pre-AL weaves National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools into the existing UP Pre-AL Conceptual Framework.

The program also offers a fully-integrated faith formation experience designed to meet the needs of administrators as spiritual leaders within their respective Catholic schools, at either the diocesan or religious order-affiliated levels. Cohort-specific retreats and wider faith formation opportunities are woven throughout the program to provide future Catholic school administrators with the spiritual foundation to be vibrant faith leaders in the school setting.

Innovative, Accessible and Affordable

Catholic School Leadership candidates will participate in a 14-month program, spending two, 2.5-week summer sessions on the beautiful University of Portland campus, immersed in a lively Summer Program which features an annual Summer Leadership Institute, weekly mass and fellowship opportunities, and dozens of early-career PACE teaching fellows on campus. Summer courses include ED 545, ED 546, ED 547, and ED 548 (see course progression below). Candidates will complete an on-line course (ED 544) during the intervening academic year, along with the practicum (ED 549) in the Catholic school at which they currently serve. Program elements include:

  • Retreats and faith formation opportunities integrated throughout the program, at no additional cost.
  • Structure and timing of courses designed to accommodate working educators
  • Opportunities for regional networking and exchange of best practices with professionals throughout the western United States
  • Qualification for an Oregon Administrative License, with regional reciprocity
  • Tuition rate set at or below competing local programs, with total program cost of approximately $10,500. Meals, books, and on-campus housing (if needed) included

Cohort-based, Intentional and Integrated Courses

Offered within the context of a close-knit cohort of experienced peers, the six required courses in the Catholic School Leadership Pre-AL are clustered around a trio of themes which form the foundation of administration in a Catholic school setting:

Diagram of Catholic IAL courses

Catholic School Leadership Pre-AL Course Sequence

Summer I
ED 545 - Leadership and Organizational Change (3 cr.)
ED 547 - Resource Allocation, Finance and Management (3 cr.)
ED 544 - Human Resource Development and Management (3 cr.)
(Reading-in-Conference online course)
ED 549 - Catholic School Leadership Pre-AL Practicum (3 cr.)
(Practicum hours will be completed annually beginning in the Fall semester.
All course requirements will be successfully completed by the end of the Spring semester).
Summer II
ED 548 - Supervision for Instructional Improvement (3 cr.)
ED 546 - Policy, Ethics and the Law (3 cr.)
Gainful Employment Information

Applying for the Program

The basic requirements for candidates interested in applying to the Catholic School Leadership Pre-AL are:

  • Master's degree (or working towards obtaining a master's degree)
  • 3+ years licensed teaching experience
  • Currently working in, or plan to work in, a Catholic/religious/private school

Applications to our selective admission process will be reviewed on a rolling basis from November 1 through April 1. Final deadline for applying is April 1. Applications are only considered complete after ALL required application items have been received at the Graduate School.

Interested? Click Here!

APPLICATION PROCESS: All University of Portland applications for the Catholic School Leadership IAL program require the following:

  • Completion of the Catholic School Leadership Pre-AL Initial Interest form. Completion of this form will initiate the application process. Begin applying HERE.
  • Interview, either in-person or via video conferencing format, with members of the PACE Catholic Leadership Pre-AL team. Scheduling of this interview will be initiated by a member of our team after receipt of the on-line Initial Interest form.
  • Graduate Application form (no fee to apply) - Online form available HERE.
  • Current Resume (1-2 pages) - There is an opportunity to upload an electronic version during completion of the on-line Graduate Application form. Otherwise you can send it in later with your other materials.
  • Statement of Goals - Download the Statement of Goals Form HERE.
  • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation - Download recommendation forms HERE.
  • Official (sealed) Transcripts documenting all degrees completed -- bachelor's and master's degrees (or a master's degree in-progress) required.
  • A copy of your Teaching License (must be current and up to date).

FINANCIAL AID: The cost to participants in the Catholic School Leadership Pre-AL is limited to the cost of the academic credits. Candidates are invited to apply for financial aid, and may find additional information on UP's financial aid webpage. Please consult the financial aid calendar to ensure you meet all deadlines.


University of Portland
5000 N. Willamette Blvd.,
Portland, Oregon 97203-5798