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School Executive Leadership Academy

Developing leaders. Transforming education.


The School Executive Leadership Academy (SELA) Track to the Master’s in Educational Leadership (MEL) partners Queens Cato School of Education, Queens McColl School of Business, and local Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and surrounding districts to develop and accelerate the flow of qualified leaders for our schools. It combines the expertise of the School of Business in developing leaders with the School of Education's and the school districts' expertise in education.

Unlike traditional master's in school administration programs, the SELA Track is highly experiential and relevant, placing participants in real life situations within a simulated school. It is designed to replicate the real challenges a school principal faces. Admission combines a rigorous selection process, an intensive summer cohort experience with the simulated school, and a residency year spent as a full-time principal intern to a trained mentor principal.

Queens University of Charlotte offers two options for the Master’s in Educational Leadership (MEL) that concludes with a NC Principal License.

Option one: Students take 11 online courses lasting 8 weeks per session.

Option two: the School Executive Leadership Academy (SELA) Track to the MEL. Students replace the first 5 online traditional MEL courses with this immersive, face to face, hands-on experience with a focus on developing candidates into the leader that today’s schools need.  Students will meet in person for five weeks during the summer from 8:00 am-5:00 PM, and once a month on selected teacher workdays. Those five courses build an amazing experience foundation as you complete the remaining six online courses in eight-week sessions at your own pace.

*There is an accelerated program option for those who wish to start in Summer 2024 and complete all MEL requirements in Summer 2025.

The SELA track allows students to experience and learn from amazing professors in the Cato School of Education, the McColl School of Business, and CMS district experts that specialize in leadership skills. The SELA track is a highly selective program that accepts students with the greatest potential to successfully influence and impact education. 90% of those who have completed SELA have moved from leading children to leading adults as MCL’s, Facilitators, Deans, Assistant Principals, and Principals.

Key Features of the Program

  • Experiential learning: case studies, role plays, simulations and other exercises mirroring situations faced as school executives and residency year filled with on-the-job school executive experiences 
  • A cohort experience: creation of a learning community and support network for participants during the program and throughout their careers
  • SELA Track is face to face and the first five of the eleven courses towards a Master of Educational Leadership. The remaining six courses are online and in 8 week sessions.
  • Accelerated opportunity to complete Masters in Educational Leadership in one year.
  • Highly selective admissions: 5 stages in competitive, rigorous recruitment and selection process: (1) Nomination by the district; (2) Application, transcripts and essays; (3) In-Depth Assessment Center with experiential exercises and trained assessors; (4) References and final selection; (5) Offer to join cohort

Program Structure and Sequence

  • Late Winter/Early Spring: selection through a highly competitive process
  • First Summer: classes five days a week for five weeks
  • School Year: year-long residency in leadership roles and participation learning sessions 
  • Second Summer: preparation for leadership assignment

For more information about the admission process and plan of study, please visit our recruitment folder.

Apply Now

To apply to the SELA Track to the MEL:

Step 1 – Go to our MA in Educational Leadership Online Application Portal.

Step 2 – Review all admission requirements / tuition information -  MA in Educational Leadership: Admission Requirements

Step 3 Submit Completed Application

Step 4 Order all your official transcripts a.s.a.p.

The application deadline is February 28, 2024 for the incoming Cohort 12. That includes all post secondary transcripts received.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available through FAFSA.

Contact Us

Ready to develop your leadership in education? Contact Alison Hiltz at hiltza@queens.edu.

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