Educational Leadership

Alternative Certification Initiative (ACI)

Persons seeking admission to the Illinois alternative superintendent certification program through Western Illinois University must:

  1. Have 5 years of supervisory experience.
  2. Have a master’s degree in a management field or meet the Life Experience Master's Equivalent.
  3. Have successfully completed a Basic Skills test.
    • If not presently certified; basic skills must have been taken within 5 years.
    • If presently certified; basic skills test must be indicated on certificate.
  4. Be under contract in a full-time administrative position at a school district office.

Upon successful completion of the required sequence of courses and passing the state test for the superintendent's endorsement, students receive a provisional Type 26 Superintendent’s endorsement for use during their internship. The Type 26 certificate must be activated and held for one year. Upon successful completion of the required one-year internship under the Type 26 certificate, students will receive a permanent Type 77 Superintendent’s endorsement.

The Legislation

The Illinois legislature enacted, and the governor signed into law, House Bill 452, which became Public Act 90-548. This legislation was in response to calls for school reform on several fronts and included the following provisions:

  • The State Board of Education...shall establish and implement an alternative route to administrative certification program under which persons who meet the requirements of and successfully complete the program established by this Section shall be issued a standard administrative certificate for serving as a district administrator in schools in this State.

Explanation of Program

The Alternative Certification Initiative (ACI) is designed to be accomplished by students in the following four phases:

Phase I - Application, Assessment and Admission

Admission Process

  1. Follow the steps on the following Web site: Admission process


  1. Candidates will be notified of their admission status within two weeks of the assessment session.
  2. Program costs must be paid on or before first day of class.
  3. The applicant must submit a signed contract(prior to March 1) from an Illinois Public School District stating that they will be provided with a one year practicum/internship experience in the central office of a school district .

Phase II - Intensive Coursework

Phase II will consist of an intensive educational experience which is offered on extended weekends from January through June. The program will consist of four courses developed around the Superintendent Standards, as seen below.

ACI 601 Facilitating a Vision of Educational Excellence
ACI 602 Developing a Learning Environment and Instructional Program
ACI 603 Managing the Organization
ACI 604 Knowing and Understanding the Laws, Regulations, and Professional Ethics

Phase III - Internship Experience

Following the intensive coursework phase, each student will:

  • be evaluated to assure that they have mastered the competencies during the intensive training experience.
  • be required to pass the test for the superintendent's endorsement as administered by the Illinois State Teacher Certification Board.

After verification of these two areas the student will receive the one year provisional Type 26 certificate, and they will be admitted to the internship experience (ACI 605), one year's full-time administrative work in a school district's central office.

Upon admission to the practicum experience, each student will complete a self-assessment and will develop a comprehensive internship plan in cooperation with the District Supervisor and the WIU Supervisor. The ELCC Standards will be utilized as a guide in the development of the plan. During the 12-month internship the student will complete a bi-monthly report of activities and a reflection that will be submitted to the WIU Supervisor. Students will be required to attend at least five seminars during their internship experience.

Phase IV - Comprehensive Assessment

The last phase in the ACI program will be a comprehensive assessment by the University Supervisor and the District Supervisor to determine the fitness of the candidate for full certification. Students will prepare a comprehensive summary of their internship including a list of activities and a reflection for each of the six standards.

After verification of completion of Phase III, including holding the Type 26 for one year, and consultation with the District Supervisor, the University Supervisor will consider the candidate for recommendation to the University Certification Officer for a Type 77 administrative certificate.

For Further Information Contact:

Alternative Certification Initiative Office
Educational Leadership Department
Western Illinois University 81 Horrabin Hall
Macomb, IL 61455

Dr. Dean Halverson, Director