2019-20 Graduate Catalog 
    Jun 07, 2023  
2019-20 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

School District Business Leader [SDBL] C.A.S.

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Educational Leadership Program 

Foundations and Social Advocacy Department
Brian Barrett, chair
Joseph Menard, graduate coordinator 
Cornish Hall, Room 1213
Fax: 607-758-5007


Help your school district develop and maintain sound fiscal strategies as you advance your career in educational leadership if you hold a master's degree. Gain the knowledge and skills to effectively develop schools and other learning communities. Combine theory and practice when you choose the school district business leader C.A.S. program at SUNY Cortland.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Work with school and community constituencies to articulate a mission, vision, and core values that are tailored to a program, school, or district's needs to promote student learning, achievement and citizenship. 
  2. Use student, teacher and program data to guide the planning, delivery, assessment, and improvement of instructional activities within the programs, buildings, and districts for which they have responsibility.
  3. Skillfully implement the tools of school program, building, and district management common to practice in New York State, including the management of resources and the management of change.
  4. Cultivate inclusive, caring, and supportive school communities in which teacher leadership is fostered, and in which real, rather than nominal, parental involvement is actualized.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the nuanced decision-making necessary to practice in a consistently ethical manner concomitant with established professional norms aligned with those of state and national associations.
  6. Advocate for student needs as priority areas for professional practice, playing active roles in enhancing equity and excellence for all students in the provision of services and programs.
  7. Attain significant field experience through the clinical internship such that they are well grounded in systems, processes, procedures, decision-making, and actions which they are likely to encounter in the performance of their duties at multiple levels within a program, school building, district or BOCES administrative structure. 

Program Highlights

With the guidance of our expert educational leadership faculty, you'll examine critical topics such as finance, curriculum, organization and facilities maintenance and management. You'll also investigate key legal issues and the elements and value of strategic supervision, and you'll benefit from field studies that take you inside local schools for firsthand observation of district operations and activities. This program will prepare you for New York state's School District Business Leader Assessment.

Culminating Experience

In addition to completing an internship in educational leadership, you'll participate in a culminating seminar that blends your classroom and practical experiences.

Career Potential

The school district business leader certificate issued by New York state enables holders without teaching credentials to qualify for positions having professional responsibilities for the business operation of a school district.

Graduate Admissions

Evaluation Policy

At the State University of New York College at Cortland, we seek a diverse and academically strong student body. Our admission policy and practice will not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, national origin or marital status.

Required Materials

  1. Completed online Graduate School Application – Apply Now
  2. Official transcripts from all institutions of higher learning attended to be forwarded directly to SUNY Cortland Graduate Admissions Office, indicating the master's degree already conferred
  3. Recommendations if you are in the teaching field: 
    1. from an administrator in your district's central office
    2. from your immediate supervisor
    3. from another educational supervisor/administrator of your choice
  4. Recommendations if you are from a non-teaching, non-traditional background:
    1. from your current organization's chief executive officer
    2. from your immediate supervisor
    3. from an educational supervisor/administrator of your choice
  5. Essay: A written essay (one-to-two pages only, word processed, double-spaced with 12-point type) that addresses the following question: What is your vision of the school leader in American public schools of the 21st century?
    1. This essay is due with all other application materials and becomes part of the application file; this paper should not be handed in at a separate time
    2. This paper should be well written in the form and quality that a future school leader would proudly provide a superintendent and/or board of education for review.

     GRE scores are not required.

Admissions Criteria

Preference will be given to candidates with a graduate grade point average of 3.0 and above and a satisfactory rating of the supporting documents as determined by the department.


Fall semester applications: July 1
Spring semester applications: Dec. 1
Summer semester applications: April 1

Applications submitted after the deadline may be considered on a space availability basis.
Please contact the Graduate Admissions Office at 607-753-4800 to check availability.

Transfer Credit Guidelines for Educational Leadership Programs

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Per College policy, graduate students may transfer up to six credit hours of graduate course work from another institution with the approval of the graduate coordinator. Individuals applying to the School District Business Leader Program (SDBL) who hold a School Building Leader (SBL) and/or School District Leader (SDL) certificate from an institution other than SUNY Cortland may in some circumstances be allowed to exceed the six credit limit on graduate transfer credit.  Upon the request of the applicant, the graduate coordinator will review the applicant's transcripts to determine what, if any, previously earned credits in Educational Leadership can be applied to SUNY Cortland's SDBL program at the point of matriculation.

The graduate coordinator will closely review previously taken or proposed course work from other institutions to be sure the content aligns with course work at SUNY Cortland. This is to ensure that any course content taken at another institution is situated in the context of educational leadership within New York State, which has unique policies and laws governing the processes of P-12 schooling.

In the case of proposed course work, candidates are strongly encouraged to seek to transfer only those courses offered at accredited institutions of higher education in New York State within a state-registered educational leadership program. Enrolled candidates should not take any course work for any EDL program at another institution without prior written permission of the Educational Leadership graduate coordinator.

NYS Certified Public Accountant License and Admission to School District Business Leader Program

Individuals may enroll in the SDBL Program without a master's degree if they provide evidence that they hold a valid license and registration as a NYS Certified Public Accountant, have completed at least three years of experience as a licensed certified public accountant auditing NYS school districts, BOCES and/or municipalities in NYS, and have employment and commitment from a NYS school district or BOCES as a school district business leader with the school district or BOCES for at least three school years, which includes at least one year of mentoring. This evidence should be submitted with their application materials.

Course Sequence

Note: Non-matriculated graduate students (NON) who intend to matriculate into the C.A.S. program, but wish to enroll in a prior semester, are eligible to register for EDL 613, 615, 616, 657 or 678 only. All other EDL classes require matriculation into the C.A.S. program. Per College policy, a graduate student can take only up to nine credit hours as a nonmatriculated student.

Total Credit Hours Required: 36

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