MGRESA Alternative Preparation for Educational Leadership Program (APEL)

What is APEL?

APEL is a two tiered, alternative preparation post-baccalaureate certification “add-on” program designed for individuals who have not prepared as leaders in a traditional leadership preparation program. Candidates’ earlier academic preparation and life experiences are recognized as they work within their schools and districts to meet requirements for Georgia Leadership certification, but not a degree. 

Tier 1 prepares candidates for entry-level leadership positions that include school level positions below the principal and system level positions that do not supervise principals. Upon entry into the program, Tier I candidates are issued a three (3) year non-renewable leadership certificate that may be converted to a professional leadership certificate when requirements are met.

Tier II prepares candidates for advanced leadership positions that include school level principals or the equivalent, school system superintendents, or other district staff. Upon successful completion of all program requirements, candidates will be qualified for a professional Performance-Based Tier II certificate.

Who are the most likely candidates for this program?

Likely candidates are employees within your schools or district holding a Master’s Degree or higher who possess natural leadership abilities but lack leadership certification. Candidates may already be in a leadership position or district leaders may desire to place them in a leadership role; however, districts must assure that selected candidates are available one-half day or more each day to work in a leadership position. 

While some of these individuals may elect to go the traditional graduate school route to gain leadership certification and an advanced degree, some within your district already have that degree and just need certification. Others may desire to go into leadership roles but don’t have the time or money required to attend graduate school. Still there are individuals who simply like the idea of learning by doing and being coached on the job while completing skills and competencies that are most critical to their school and district.

Why should districts buy-in to APEL?

Districts can identify great leadership talent and put those promising leaders to work immediately. Candidates will earn TKES credentialing within the first two months of entering the program and can assist in the teacher observation process. 

School and district leaders become partners in determining the skills and behaviors that are most critical to their growth needs. Each candidate has a rigorous Individual Growth Plan that includes specific job-embedded tasks. Candidates are provided coaching and feedback on performance by both district and MGRESA personnel.

How long is the program?

Each Tier requires a twelve (12) month minimum residency period. Candidates can have up to three years to complete Tier I while they hold non-renewable certificates. An additional three years may be used to complete Tier II, although candidates must hold renewable performance-based leadership certification while completing this Tier. 

What is the cost?

The cost for each 12-month Tier is $6,000 for candidates within the Middle GA RESA service area and $6,850 for those not within the Middle GA RESA service area. These charges include all training (TKES/LKES) and materials as well as expenses incurred by MGRESA Coaches for travel to districts. Candidates requiring extended program time for completion will be charged on a sliding scale. 

How do candidates become part of this program?

Complete the application package and submit no later than MAY 31, 2023 to:

Middle Georgia RESA
Attn: Christina Pearson
Warner Robins Campus B-228
80 Cohen Walker Drive
Warner Robins, GA 31088
Fax: 478-988-7176 MAy

For more information, contact Dr. Robin Smith at or call (478) 988-7170.