Missouri Pathway for Aspiring Leaders (MoPAL)

Missouri Pathway for Aspiring Leaders (MoPAL)

Missouri Special Education Leadership Certification Program

The Missouri Pathway for Aspiring Leaders in Special Education (MoPAL) is a three-year, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) sponsored program. Individuals who currently hold a Missouri administrator certificate are eligible for participation at no cost. Through this program, aspiring leaders receive essential content through online professional learning modules, cohort learning experiences, coaching, and mentoring. During the first two years in the MoPAL program, participants complete a series of seven online modules focused on leadership issues in special education. The modules, in the first year, focus on foundational elements of special education leadership including: special education law, continuous improvement practices, and special education finance. In the second year, modules focus on leadership for quality special education instructional practices including high impact instructional practices, data-based decision making, effective teaching and learning practices and family/community participation. The time commitment for each MoPAL Module is the equivalent of a three hour college course. Review the program syllabus* for more details. All modules have been vetted by both DESE special education improvement consultants and Missouri special education administrators through MO-CASE. All participants are assigned a MoPAL consultant who helps participants anchor module content to real-world application through cohort meetings and one-on-one visits. During each participant's third year they receive individualized coaching and support as they complete a capstone project.

  • Go to the DESE website
  • Go to "DESE Application Sign-In (DAS)
  • If you do not have an account, you must make one and check with your district to approve you for the Virtual Learning Platform
  • If you already have an account, sign in
  • Select the pillar titled DESE Endorsements & Certifications
  • Instructions for Website Application

Qualifications to Participate

  • Current Missouri Administrator certification
  • Employed in a Missouri school district
  • Completed application on or before April 15. Applications received after this date will be considered as an available placement. 

Benefits to Participation

  • A research to practice approach
  • Cohort face-to-face meetings two times per year (January and July)
  • No cost, evidence-based, online professional learning framework
  • MoPAL consultant for the three years to address applicable real world context and to provide support and feedback during web-based professional learning modules and final product
  • Networking opportunities
  • Professional development aligned with Missouri Leader and the Council of Exceptional Child (CEC) Standards


  • January 17, 2024: Midyear Cohort Meeting (Cohort 2, 3 and 4 with consultants)
  • January 2, 2024: Application release for Cohort 5 on the Virtual Learning Platform
  • April 15, 2024: Applications due for Cohort 5
  • April 30, 2024: Applications approved or disapproved
  • July 17, 2024: Summer Cohort Meeting (Cohort 2, 3, 4, and 5, with consultants)

MoPAL Suggested Timeline

Module 1: Fall Year 1
Module 2: Spring Year 1
Module 3: Summer Year 1
Module 4: Fall Year 2
Module 5 and 6: Spring Year 2
Module 7: Summer Year 2 
Scholar Implementation Survey: End of Summer Year 2
Capstone: Year 3

MoPAL Requirements for Certification

● Complete all modules and assignments
● Complete all module pre and post assessments
● Meet individually with their MoPAL consultant (in-person or virtually) at least 1 time per semester
● Participate in a 1x per year on-site visit
● Attend 70 percent of monthly cohort virtual meetings
● Complete the annual SAPP
● Attend 80 percent of cohort in-person meetings
● Satisfactorily complete MoPAL capstone projects

Contact for the Missouri Pathway for Aspiring Leaders (MoPAL):

Kindra Delp, Director of Special Education Leadership Development, Missouri School for the Severely Disabled (MSSD)
Email: Kindra.Delp@dese.mo.gov
Phone: 573-751-0225