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Mercer University to offer GCPS teachers leadership certification opportunity at no cost

August 8, 2023

     A new partnership between Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) and Mercer University will open the door for teachers to earn a Tier I Leadership Certification at no cost. The program will allow teachers to earn their Tier I Certification through Mercer University’s Tift College of Education’s Tier I Educational Leadership program. This program is designed for teachers interested in entering leadership (this certification is necessary at the assistant principal level) with the intention of providing a pathway for continued leadership and career growth.

     GCPS Assistant Superintendent of Leadership and Staff Development Dr. Jeff Mathews is excited about the opportunity. “Our new partnership with Mercer University elevates our support for teachers who are aspiring to be the next leaders in GCPS,” Dr. Mathews shares. “The program will enable teachers who are interested in entering a pathway for leadership an opportunity to earn a Tier I Leadership Certificate at no cost. We are extremely excited about this new partnership with a well-respected institution like Mercer University.”

     The Tier I Certification course is four semesters long and is hybrid: 50% Synchronous, 25% Asynchronous, and 25% In Person (one Saturday per month at the Atlanta Campus).

  • The deadline to apply for the August start is August 15.
  • The deadline to apply for the January start is January 3.  
  • Please complete the online application to participate
    • Application Fee - WAIVED 
    • Submit proof of teaching certification
    • Applicants must upload official transcripts from all previously attended institutions.
    • Applicants may submit transcripts digitally to
    • GACE Ethics for Educational Leaders Assessment
  • Former and current Mercer University students need not request a Mercer University transcript.
  • Principal Verification Form
    • Submitting a verification form from the school principal is required.
  • M.Ed. in Educational Leadership candidates should ensure a full understanding of program requirements versus current employment obligations, if applicable, and plan accordingly.
  • For more information about the course, please contact GCPS Leadership and Staff Development: 678-301-7267.
  • Once accepted into the Tier I certification program, GCPS teachers are required to sign a contract with the district for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years.
  • Orientation for the program is scheduled for August 19.
  • Classes for the fall semester begin August 21.

     The partnership between Mercer University and GCPS is the latest example of GCPS’ commitment to attracting and hiring talented educators and providing professional development opportunities which lead to better teachers and improved classroom results. Dr. Mathews explains, “This partnership with Mercer is one of two recently announced by GCPS in support of career growth opportunities for our teachers. While this one is focused on teachers passionate about leadership opportunities, Georgia State University’s Master of Education in STEM program allows teachers to advance their education in the STEM field, again at no cost. Both programs are aligned with the strategic priorities in Our Blueprint for the Future and serve as solid examples of the steadfast priority in GCPS of taking care of our teachers through providing these two experiences.”