Educational Leadership Certified by MDE

After a grueling three-year journey, Andrews University is the first Seventh-day Adventist university in North America to achieve state certification for the School Administrator Preparation Program.

“What this means for our program,” says Janet Ledesma, coordinator of the educational leadership program, “is that if a person graduates in the program, not only will they have denominational certification, they will also have state certification and reciprocity in other states. Our program is completely online, so if you’re a principal in Indiana, or if you’re a principal in New York City, or if you’re a principal in any state that is recognized in the state of Michigan, you will now have that same licensure.”

The process of achieving certification began in 2011. The certification team, consisting of Ledesma, Duane Covrig (director of the graduate leadership program), Sylvia Gonzalez (professor of leadership and educational administration), and several graduate students, submitted an application and paid a fee to the state. Then state standards changed and they had to begin the process again. There are ten Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) program standards required for certification.

“Within each course we had to sit down and develop these rubrics that would match not only the standards, but also how we were developing this level of mastery within the course content,” Ledesma explains. “Imagine doing this for a 48-credit master’s, an EDS, or a PhD!”

“There was just one obstacle then another obstacle,” she says. “One day I got home and I said, ‘Lord, it’s in your hands. We’ve done our best, now you do the rest.’”

Her prayer was answered, and in July, after a formal review by the Michigan Department of Education, the program received certification.

Ledesma hopes that this added certification will attract teachers from outside the Adventist church to the program.

“This is yet another opportunity that God has sent us to reach teachers in our immediate area, right here in Berrien Springs, in Benton Harbor,” she says. “Ultimately this new certification both aids the School of Education’s commitment to academic excellence, and reinforces our motto: To Educate Is to Redeem.”

To learn more about the School of Education, visit, email or call 269-471-3481.

(By IMC writer Melodie Roschman.)