In a 2010 interview in Principal magazine, Arne Duncan commented on the importance of school leaders: “Nothing is more important. There’s no such thing as a high-performing school without a great principal. It is impossible. You simply can’t overstate their importance in driving student achievement, in attracting and retaining great talent to the school.”

There has never been a greater need for high quality school leadership than there is today, in this age of high accountability and great challenges. Eastern University prepares future educational leaders by providing a strong foundation in theory of administration and opportunities for real world application of theory in real-life school situations through the internship opportunities in the program.

​​​​​​​Do I have the qualities to be a successful school leader?

The MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year award program annually recognizes outstanding school leaders who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students. The following selection criteria reflect the themes as outlined in the Breaking Ranks framework for middle level and high schools.

  • Personal Excellence
  • Collaborative Leadership
  • Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
  • Personalization

(Examples of each can be found on the MetLife/NASSP web site)

Does the program meet the PILs Standards for certification? What are these?

Approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Eastern Principals’ Certification Program meets the PIL requirements. The Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership (PIL) Program is a statewide, standards-based continuing professional education program for school and system leaders.

What are the Pennsylvania School Leadership Standards?

Core Standards:

  • The leader has the knowledge and skills to think and plan strategically, creating an organizational vision around personalized student success.
  • The leader has an understanding of standards-based systems theory and design and the ability to transfer that knowledge to the leader's job as the architect of standards-based reform in the school.
  • The leader has the ability to access and use appropriate data to inform decision-making at all levels of the system.
How does the Internship hour requirement work for the Principal’s Certificate?  

The internship requirement is a total of 360 documented hours in their certification area. Although the hours may be compiled over the length of the certification program, they are mainly centered on three courses - EDU 591, The Principalship Internship (3 credits);   EDU 589, Principal as Instructional Leader Internship  (3 credits); and EDU 599 Leadership Models for Effective Education Internship: Leading data driven decision-making (3 credits).

Where possible, Interns work with experienced leaders within their building/district. Hours must be accumulated and documented in the areas designated below. 

  • Creating a Vision for Student Success that Addresses Assessment as a Key component (EDU 590 – The Principalship)
  • Developing a Standards-Based System for Instructional Leadership (EDU 588 – The Principal as Instructional Leader)
  • Designing and Leading Data Driven Decision-Making Practices and Group Processes (EDU 598 – Leadership Models for Effective Education)
  • School Law (EDU  624 – School Law)
  • School Finance (EDU 625 – School Finance)
  • Communication (All courses / all internships)
  • Political Management (All courses / all internships)
  • Organizational Management (All courses / all internships)
How are these hours documented?

The goal is the submission of a professional portfolio at the completion of the internship focusing on all of the above listed areas.  

What kinds of experiences count towards the 360 hours?

Generally, these hours are accumulated through attendance at administrative meetings (building, district, etc.), participation in administrative assignments and projects (scheduling, data analysis, reports, etc.); teacher observations (with an administrator). Evidence in the form of agendas, notes, etc. must be saved as part of the portfolio. Speak with the program administrator for suggestions.   

What is the general format of classes?

Most classes are delivered in a blended model, with a determined number of sessions live and others through Brightspace, either synchronously or asynchronously. The University is considering the delivery of some courses entirely online.  All courses now have a Brightspace website assigned to them:  Eastern University uses the Brightspace Platform for the e-learning environment for these courses.  Using your Eastern University username and password, you can access the site for this course at

Can the portfolio be created and submitted to electronically?

Yes, with the program administrator’s approval.