An innovative collaboration between the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and Harvard Business School (HBS), powered by HBS Online.

Principals hold critically important and increasingly complex roles. How can we support them to drive change and lead high performing schools?


The Certificate in School Management and Leadership (CSML), a multi-course certificate program for preK-12 school leaders, is an innovative collaboration between the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and Harvard Business School (HBS). Bridging the fields of business and education, CSML integrates expertise in managing teams and organizations with best practices in school and instructional leadership, to provide school leaders with frameworks, skills, and knowledge to effectively lead and drive change improvement in schools.  The CSML certificate will be comprised of the following four courses, which can be taken independently or completed together in any order to earn a comprehensive certificate:

Leading Change
Designed to equip school leaders with the skills they need to drive school change and help diverse stakeholders establish priorities and improve practice.
Leading Schools
Develop the skills to identify existing challenges, incorporate and support innovation, and take a strategic problem-solving approach to planning and driving school improvement.
Leading People
Learn to recruit, develop, retain, and inspire outstanding individuals and teams to deliver on the vision of the school.
Leading Learning
Learn how to create teaching and learning communities that support standards based excellent teaching in every classroom.

Launching summer 2020

Launching summer 2021



Apply today for Leading Schools being offered in October. See course calendar here. More dates will be announced soon.

Leading Schools
October 16 – November 13, 2019
Application Deadline: October 4, 2019

Leading Change
January 22 – February 19, 2020
Application Deadline: January 10, 2020

HBS Online Logo

Experience the Learning

Hosted on the highly interactive HBS Online platform, CSML offers participants the opportunity to reflect on and apply the course learnings to their unique context, while interacting with and learning from a global network of school leaders.


  • Testimonial - Erika Tonello

    “The Certificate in School Management and Leadership is a must for all leaders. The course uses short video clips and actionable research that is easy to relate to your own school and work. The course helps you to reflect on the changes needed at your school and how to proceed with the changes to ensure an equitable education for all students.”

    Erika Tonello, Assistant Principal, District School Board of Pasco County

  • Testimonial - Mike Hayes

    “Harvard's "Leading Change: A CSML Course," served as a wonderful form of professional development. While enrolled, I eagerly anticipated each module as the readings, videos and peer-interaction served as an excellent springboard for critical thought, reflection and growth.”

    Mike Hayes, Principal, Indian Hill Exempted Village School District

  • Testimonial - Kristine Douglas

    “The most significant improvement that has resulted from my work in the CSML is the total comprehension of what it takes to be a true leader; the running of a business has many parts, its ripeness, its adaptive challenges, but more importantly, that leadership is a practice, and authority does not always have to lead.”

    Kristine Douglas, Head of School, Ellington Preparatory Academy of Arts and Sciences Charter School

Spotlight on Practitioners

Shelia Durant

Sheila Durant

Principal, P.S. 69 Journey Prep School, Bronx, NY

Sheila’s leadership story is highlighted in Leading Change

Jeff Matthews

Jeff Matthews

Principal, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, Georgia

Jeff’s leadership story is highlighted in Leading Change

Brittany Wagner-Friel

Brittany Wagner-Friel

Principal, EL Haynes Elementary School (public charter), Washington, DC

Brittany’s leadership story is highlighted in Leading Change


Melissa Pizano-Grunnet

Principal, Martin Van Buren Elementary School, Indio, CA

Melissa’s leadership story is highlighted in Leading Schools

Photo of Thomas

Aisha Thomas

Principal, Zach Elementary School, Fort Collins, CO

Aisha’s leadership story is highlighted in Leading Schools

Brendan Kennealey photo

Brendan Kennealey

Principal, Salesianum High School, Wilmington, DE

Brendan's leadership story is highlighted in Leading Schools

Meet the Faculty

A collaboration between the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and Harvard Business School (HBS), CSML courses feature faculty members from HGSE, HBS, and other Harvard schools, principals and educators from across the United States, and leaders in fields outside of education.

Mary Grassa O'NeillHarvard Graduate School of Education Logo

Mary Grassa O’Neill
Senior Lecturer on Education; Faculty Director, School Leadership, HGSE

Allen GrossmanHarvard Business School Logo

Allen Grossman
Senior Fellow, HBS

Leading Change Faculty

Ronald Heifetz, King Hussein Bin Talal Senior Lecturer in Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School

Katherine K. Merseth, Senior Lecturer on Education, HGSE

Irvin Leon Scott, Senior Lecturer on Education, HGSE

Leading Schools Faculty

Pamela Mason, Senior Faculty on Education; Faculty Director of the Language and Literacy Master's program, HGSE

Michael Tushman, Professor of Business Administration, HBS 

Launch Behind the Scenes Gallery