Cohort of Leadership Associates (CoLA) » CoLA » Program Overview

Program Overview

About Us

The Cohort of Leadership Associates (CoLA) is a State Board of Educator Certification approved alternative route to principal certification coordinated by Education Service Center, Region 20. CoLA is an intensive program of training and field-based work designed to develop and prepare quality school leaders in San Antonio and the surrounding areas.


Vision Statement:

To be the definitive choice for individuals seeking principal preparation by providing quality training aligned with current best practices to create a strong, balanced leadership foundation.

Core Beliefs:

We believeā€¦

  • In service first
  • Our employees drive our success
  • Collaboration maximizes results
  • In purposeful and effective communication
  • Change is opportunity
  • In cultivating strengths
  • Learning is life-long

Leadership Associates successfully completing all CoLA program requirements, to include obtaining a passing score on both the TExES 268 Principal Examination and the Performance Assessment for School Leaders- PASL (368), will be eligible for the Principal as Instructional Leader Standard Principal Certificate.



Program Training

Leadership Associates will participate in over 200 hours of leadership training within the six courses listed below.  Advancing Educational Leadership (AEL) and T-TESS training are both included in the program. Training sessions will take place via Zoom or online courses.


Courses will focus on the following core school leadership strands:

Instructional Leadership
Coaching and Developing Teachers
School Leadership
Home, School, and Community Relations
School Finance, Policy, and Law



Field-Based Practicum

To ensure success on all program expectations and state certification exams, it is critical for the leadership associate to acquire the consent of their campus administration in providing them with direct guidance and support, to include multiple opportunities for involvement in campus leadership activities.  The campus administrator will serve as the leadership associate’s Site Supervisor and mentor throughout the extent of the program and will be required to participate in 2 hours of online training. 


Leadership Associates will be responsible for the following, under the guidance of their Site Supervisor:

  • Obtain 200 hours of on campus field-based leadership experiences.
  • Plan, implement, and monitor an Action Research Project focused on improving student achievement, teacher effectiveness, and overall campus culture.  
  • Apply acquisition of skills through performance assessments concentrated in the areas of the TEA Principal as Instructional Leader Pillars: Communication with Stakeholders, Curriculum Alignment, Diversity and Equity, Data Driven Instruction, Hiring, Selection, and Retention, Observation and Feedback, Professional Development, School Vision and Culture, and Strategic Problem Solving.


All CoLA program components are aligned with the TAC §241.15 Standards Required for the Principal Certificate and the TExES 268 Examination Framework.


Through the unique partnership between ESC-20 and the University of the Incarnate Word, Leadership Associates have the opportunity to obtain a Master’s degree* with a Concentration in School Leadership, or work towards a Doctoral degree in Education with a Concentration in Organizational Leadership and Specialty in School Leadership simultaneously with their principal certificate. All CoLA program requirements are transferable as university credit hours and are embedded into either degree plan.

Program cost for participation in this partnership is calculated based on the current year’s UIW tuition and fee schedule.  Individuals participating in the UIW Partnership are required to complete an online application through both CoLA and through the University of the Incarnate Word.

For more information on the UIW partnership, please attend a free CoLA Information Session, where a UIW representative will be present to answer specific questions.

*A Master’s degree must be conferred prior to being recommended for a Texas Standard Principal as Instructional Leader Certificate.

Effective September 1, 2019, principal certification candidates will be required to successfully complete two state examinations, the TExES Principal as Instructional Leader (268) exam and the Performance Assessment for School Leaders, PASL (368), in order to be eligible to receive a Principal as Instructional Leader certificate.

Performance Assessment for School Leaders PASL (368)

TExES Principal as Instructional Leader (268)