Independent School Leadership Certificate

Graduate Certificate in Independent School Leadership

Our online school administration certificate prepares you to exercise imaginative educational leadership that’s well-suited to independent schools.

Finish in as little as 9 months.

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Graduate Programs Virtual Information Session

Monday, April 22, 2024 
from 5:30 pm 
to 7:00 pm

Learn about the Merrimack College community, application process, financial aid, your program's curriculum, professional opportunities, fellowships and more!

Independent School Leadership Certificate: Why Merrimack College?

Independent schools require innovative school administrators who can foster unique learning environments. for diverse, nontraditional student populations. Merrimack College’s online Graduate Certificate in Independent School Leadership equips you to meet the wide range of educational, financial and management challenges that are particular to independent schools.

This fully online program equips you to excel as an independent school administrator because it features:

Practical, relevant coursework.

The online independent school leadership program sets you up to succeed by providing you with skills that yields proven outcomes. You’ll acquire practical techniques for achieving financial sustainability, raising student performance, building strong community partnerships and fulfilling other educational leadership roles.

Exceptional faculty.

Our independent school leadership program is led by innovative educators who’ve earned national recognition. You’ll work closely with accomplished educational leaders such as Dr. Stephanie Garrone-Shufran and Dr. Marie Galinski, as well as prolific researchers and policy specialists such as Anne Gatling.

Robust interaction.

Merrimack’s user-friendly online learning platform supports the kind of dialogue you’d typically get from an in-person program. You’ll form real relationships in a virtual environment, collaborating with classmates and establishing strong bonds with faculty.

Transferable credits.

Upon completion of the 12-credit independent school leadership certificate, you’ll be just 24 credits shy of a Master of Education degree. If you choose to continue your studies, all credits from the school administration certificate will automatically count toward the M.Ed in Teacher Education.

Convenience and affordability.

The online independent school leadership program is specifically designed for working teachers, administrators and other educators. You can complete coursework whenever and wherever if fits into your work schedule, at times and places that don’t interfere with your work duties, family responsibilities or other obligations.

Program Format

  • Online
  • 3 Courses / 12 Credits


  • $677 per credit

Start Terms

  • Fall
  • Spring


Independent School Leadership Course Descriptions

The independent school leadership certificate consists of three online courses, with four credits per course.

The Fundamentals of Independent School Leadership course examines the philosophy and values that distinguish independent schools from their standard counterparts. You’ll examine the specific role independent educators play in the nation’s academic ecosystem, as well as the particular challenges they face.

In the Financial Leadership course, you’ll learn best practices for budgeting and how this core function affects nearly every aspect of independent school administration, including enrollment, tuition, income, scholarships, capital improvements, strategic planning, fundraising and school board relations. The methodology that’s taught in this course applies for independent schools at all levels, from pre-K through college.

Finally, the Educational Leadership and Managerial Strategies course provide independent school administrators with the insight and skills to plan strategically, create high-performing teams, foster an ethic of ongoing professional development, and employ social media and other digital tools.

Get the Skills You Need to Succeed as an Independent School Administrator

While the independent school leadership certificate gives you a sturdy theoretical foundation, the program’s greatest value lies in its emphasis on applied skills.

You’ll exit the program with a suite of competencies that enable you to step directly into an independent school administrator job—or to improve your results if you’re already working in an education leadership role.

Among other things, you’ll learn best practices for:

  • Building an inclusive school community
  • Identifying your independent school’s particular strengths and competitive advantages
  • Managing cash flow and optimize tuition levels
  • Mentoring teachers and other school personnel
  • Leveraging social media and other technologies to promote education and community outreach
  • Forging strong partnerships with families, community members and other stakeholders
  • Creating a culture of leadership

Questions About the Online Independent School Leadership program?

Contact the Merrimack College Office of Graduate Admission at

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