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Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining a Principal Authorization Via an Individualized Plan

Requirements for a Principal Authorization Via an Individualized Plan

Before a candidate may apply for a principal authorization, the following three criteria must be met:

  1. There is a demonstrated need for the principal or assistant principal position in the partnering Colorado school district or BOCES;
  2. An employment agreement for the position exists; and
  3. An individualized principal plan has been developed and vetted by CDE/Educator Development as meeting established indicators.

What follows are the steps districts and their candidates will need to take to create an individualized plan. Resources will open in a new window or tab, depending on your browser settings.

1. Review Guidelines

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Always confirm you have the latest version of the Alternative Principal Authorization Guidelines

Step 1: Districts and alternative principal candidates should review the guidelines

Step 2: Districts:

  • Refer to the Individualized Alternative Principal Plan template to help you develop a plan
  • Review the principal authorization requirements in the guidelines

2. Submit Documentation

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Step 1: Candidates and the hiring district/BOCES/charter school collaboratively develop an individualized alternative principal plan and complete a statement of assurance

Step 2: Upon completion, the hiring district/BOCES/charter school will submit the plan, employment agreement and statement of assurance to CDE. 

3. Engage the review process

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Step 1: CDE will evaluate the plan in light of the Quality Indicators published in the Principal Authorization Guidelines

Step 2: All parties are notified of CDE's decision and/or feedback on the plan.

Step 3: Once satisfactorily vetted internally, CDE will contact the candidate to submit an application for a principal authorization.

4. Receive Decision

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Step 1: Upon receipt of the application, the plan will be submitted for approval at an upcoming meeting of the Colorado State Board of Education.

Step 2: Once approved, CDE will finalize the application process and provide the candidate with a principal authorization








  • Important Note: The plan does not go into effect until the Colorado State Board of Education has approved it and the principal authorization is issued.
  • If you have questions while awaiting a decision, contact CDE



For questions, submit a Licensing Support Request form or call 720-739-3304 (7:30 am to 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday).