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University of Denver Announces MBA in School Leadership

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Program is interdisciplinary collaboration between Daniels School of Business, Morgridge College of Education and Get Smart Schools


DENVER— The University of Denver today announces the establishment of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in School Leadership program. The MBA will give participants the business and management skills to open and lead autonomous charter schools.

The new program is an interdisciplinary collaboration between DU’s Daniels School of Business, the Morgridge College of Education and Get Smart Schools, a non-profit organization designed to dramatically increase the number of high quality schools serving low-income students in Colorado’s Front Range.

Daniels College of Business will incorporate its cutting-edge MBA core curriculum with a specially-designed concentration in education, developed in cooperation with the Morgridge College of Education and Get Smart Schools.  According to Gregory Anderson, Ph.D., dean of the Morgridge School of Education, an important goal of this program is to promote interdisciplinary learning. He notes that through real world skill-building, this tailored learning approach combines traditional education with practical know-how in opening a charter school.

Heading up an autonomous or charter school requires instructional, organizational, cultural and financial management expertise. One of the biggest barriers to successful new school creation is the lack of qualified entrepreneurial leaders.  Unlike traditional principal preparation, this will give participants both the business and instructional expertise to manage and lead schools closing the academic achievement gap.

“As our students move through the program, they’ll have opportunities to work with leaders from industry, entrepreneurial ventures, non-profit organizations and government,” says Daniels College of Business Dean Christine Riordan, Ph.D. “What they will gain is a much more diverse and in-depth perspective of educational leadership than those in traditional business or educational programs.  It’s a true collaboration between the Daniels and Morgridge Colleges to provide a sound business foundation to the educational process.”

There will be an intensive recruiting and rigorous selection process for participants. The first cohort – or team of students – of the program will start classes in March 2010, culminating with the opening of their new schools in late August 2012.  By that time, participants will have completed their MBA and residencies and had five to six months of dedicated planning time to prepare for the opening of their schools.  There will also be financial incentives available for a limited number of participants, including tuition loan forgiveness and residency stipends.

Colorado Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien, a founding board member of Get Smart Schools, has played an active role in the creation of this new program.

“The MBA in School Leadership program is one of the most exciting initiatives in school reform in our state.  The program will produce a new generation of entrepreneurs who will change the face of education and will create schools where students are prepared for success in the 21st century,” O’Brien says.

The University of Denver (, the oldest private university in the Rocky Mountain region, enrolls approximately 11,409 students in its undergraduate and graduate programs. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Denver as a Research University with high research activity.

Get Smart Schools was created by a group of educators, political leaders, entrepreneurs and school officials to dramatically increase the number of high quality schools serving low-income students in Colorado’s Front Range.  GSS is an assurance to donors that money invested in creating new schools will go to high-performing autonomous schools serving a high number of low-income students. Every aspect of GSS programs is rooted in proving and documenting high performance.


Kim DeVigil
(303) 871-2775

Julie Lucas,
(303) 871-3379

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