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F: 510.430.3379

E: education@mills.edu

Independent School Leadership

This program is designed to enhance students' knowledge, skills, values, and practical experience, enabling them to design effective school change and become leaders at independent schools. The program includes course work and guided fieldwork experiences that are specifically geared to meet the needs of independent school educators. Students also develop connections to an extensive network of cooperating schools. Students in this program earn an MA in educational leadership degree in two years.

Distinctive Features

  • Cohort-based program: Students take classes with peers in the MA program, in addition to students in the Independent School Leadership Program. This allows them to learn with and from people who share a common interest in designing school change.

  • Relevant curriculum: Course work is designed to foster in students the organizational strategies they will need to promote shared decision making with school members, families, and communities. The faculty develop the curriculum based on their experience and their connection with Mills graduates leading in local schools.

Course Work

In addition to core courses, the Educational Leadership Programs offer two specialized courses in independent school leadership. These courses examine contemporary challenges facing independent school leaders, including the practical applications of education research and theory on practice. They also cover elements of independent school leadership such as fund development, budgeting, marketing, and public relations. Students create a professional portfolio as a capstone project. See the Requirements page for a list of courses required for this program; see the Course Descriptions page for paragraph-length descriptions of individual courses.


Students are mentored by the heads of independent schools. The work incorporates observation and interaction.

Career Opportunities

Graduates from this program strengthen their existing knowledge and skills for their current leadership positions and may obtain new leadership positions in independent schools as well as other educational settings in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.


Last Updated: 7/26/17