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Leadership in Middle Level Education

The Certificate for Advanced Study in Leadership in Middle Level Education allows teachers to deepen their knowledge about the unique needs of young adolescents as well best practices in developmentally responsive middle schools. Holders of the Certificate will  understand the major concepts, principles, theories, and research related to young adolescent development, and use that knowledge in their practice. By analyzing the philosophical foundations of developmentally responsive middle level programs and schools, and candidates learn to work successfully within middle level organizational components. The purpose of the Certificate is to help educators enhance   their complex roles as educators of young adolescents.


  • EDMI 661: The Young Adolescent Learner (3 Units)
    Considers the social, cultural, cognitive, emotional, linguistic, and behavioral development of young adolescents from multidisciplinary, multicultural, and applied perspectives. Students will explore how to create learning environments and social contexts that support cognitive and developmental processes. Through a critical inquiry process, students will learn theoretical perspectives and empirical research on young adolescent development as they create an understanding of the factors that influence the social contexts in which practitioners and young adolescents exist.
  • EDMI 662 - Middle Level Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment (3 Units)
    Students will expand their practical repertoire of teaching and assessment strategies for meeting young adolescents’ intellectual, social, and emotional needs. Students will engage in field experiences and consider organizational structures that shape middle-level students’ learning and development.
  • EDMI 663: Middle Level Leadership (3 Units)
    Presents a theoretical framework for critical reflection on the characteristics of effective middle level school and leadership. Promotes an understanding of how to implement, and advocate for, effective strategies for meeting young adolescents’ intellectual, social, and emotional needs. Introduces and applies action research that impacts practices in schools in light of middle level philosophy and young adolescent development. Addresses deeper leadership skills and strategies as a teacher leader in order to shape middle level students’ learning and development. Enrollment Restrictions: Enrollment restricted to students who have obtained consent of Program Coordinator.
  • EDUC 619: Teacher Inquiry to Improve Student Learning (3 Units)
     For teachers interested in conducting teacher research in their classrooms. The goal is to create a community of practice for teachers-as-researchers who can reflect on, investigate, understand and share their craft, students and classrooms with colleagues.  

Faculty & Lecturers

  • Erika Daniels


    Erika Daniels, Professor in Literacy Education, received her doctorate in Literacy from a joint program between the University of San Diego and San Diego State University Joint Doctoral Program. She teaches Literacy courses in the teacher credential program and advanced Literacy in the Masters program while also co-coordinating the Middle Level Education program. Her other professional role is as the Director for the Alliance to Accelerate Excellence in Education. The Alliance is a regional collaboration between CSUSM, community colleges, and K-12 school districts that focuses on a comprehensive and comprehensible pathway to college access and success. Before coming the CSUSM as a full-time faculty member, Erika taught kindergarten and middle school in East Los Angeles and middle school in Oceanside, CA. Erika's research interests are twofold and explore literacy practices for reluctant and disengaged learners and as well as how the context of schooling fosters or hinders the motivation of young adolescents.

    E-mail: | Phone: (760) 750-8547

  • Rong-Ji Chen


    Rong-Ji Chen is a Professor of Mathematics Education in the School of Education at CSUSM. He earned his Ph.D. degree in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a focus on mathematics, science, and technology education. At CSUSM, Dr. Chen teaches K-8 mathematics methods courses in the Multiple Subject, Integrated Credential, and Middle Level programs. He also teaches an introductory educational technology course. His research interests pertain to teachers’ perceptions about the nature of mathematics and how they see themselves as learners of mathematics. He is also interested in technology integration in mathematics education and teacher education, especially with respect to a critical theory of technology.

    E-mail: | Phone: (760) 750-8509

  • Moses K. Ochanji


    Moses K. Ochanji is a Professor of Science Education at California State University San Marcos. He teaches science education and general courses in the teacher credential and the Master of Arts in Education Programs. His research interest focuses on the “multiple phases of inquiry” in science classrooms and issues dealing with science teacher education. He has a wide experience in classroom science teaching having taught high school physics and mathematics in Kenya and in New York State for several years. He was a visiting lecturer on sabbatical leave at the Department of Educational Communication and Technology at Kenyatta University, Kenya, where he taught and collaborated with the department’s faculty on research projects focusing on building through quality teacher preparation and issues relating to teaching in large classes. Dr. Moses Ochanji received his undergraduate degree in Physics and Education, and masters degree in Science Education from Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya. He holds a Ph.D. in Science Education from Syracuse University in New York.

    E-mail: | Phone: (760) 750-8546