Certificate in Education Foundation Leadership, CEFL

The Certificate in Education Foundation Leadership (CEFL) is the professional standard of the National School Foundation Association and is the only certification program designed exclusively for education foundation leaders and executives.  While each education foundation is unique, this program provides students with specific skills and knowledge required to lead and manage an education foundation of any size. 

The National School Foundation Association connects, informs and motivates education foundation leaders through the CEFL program as well as offers other education programs designed to help leaders manage and lead organizations for greater success.

Cohort Candidates

Ideal CEFL student candidates are familiar with education foundations, passionate about advancing K-12 education and have enough flexibility in weekly scheduling to focus approximately 3-5 hours on coursework.  This program is ideal for education foundation executive directors, staff, board members, volunteers or those interested in pursuing a career with an education foundation.  The asynchronous online format allows for students to integrate the self-paced coursework into their busy schedules while networking with professional peers nationwide.  Upon completion, NSFA-Certified Education Foundation Leaders can apply their training to operate local foundations more efficiently and impact school communities more effectively. 

Industry Expert Leadership

The experienced instructors specialize in training executive leaders who are seeking a network of peers, specific training and the confidence to overcome the daily and demanding challenges of funding local schools.  Each instructor is endorsed by NSFA to provide relevant materials and consulting-level interaction that will advance the sophistication of your organization.  Instructors frame coursework to provide valuable information as well as an opportunity to connect with your peers through topic-specific discussions.  While the courses are designed to be applicable to all education foundations, instructors are more than willing to discuss and advise students on success strategies for the needs of specific situations.


Bill Hoffman
NSFA Board of Directors/Board Certification Chair

Bill Hoffman  & Associates, LLC (Management Consulting Services)

LinkedIn     Candid     Guidestar Blog     

James Hanks, Esq.

Past NSFA Board of Directors
Attorney (Retired), Ahlers & Cooney 

National School Boards Association's (NSBA) Council of School Attorneys (COSA)

Editor/Contributing Author of School Violence: From Discipline to Due Process [ABA 2004]

Author of School Bullying: How Long is the Arm of the Law [ABA 2012, 2015]

Bio     Achievement

Shannon Soto, Ed.D

Deputy Superintendent of Administrative Services
Oceanside Unified School District, Oceanside, CA


Sara D. Bender, CEFL



CEFL Advisor

Sara D. Bender, CEFL

P: 317.460.4406

E: Sara.D.Bender@SchoolFoundations.org

Certificate Information

The NSFA CEFL is offered in partnership with National University.

Schedule: Annually, June-November

Number: 6 courses

Duration: 4 weeks/course, 6 months/certificate

Time Commitment: Self-paced, average of 3-5 hr/week, 15-20 hr/course, 60-80 hr/certificate

Cost: $400/course, $2400/certificate

Grading: Pass/Fail at 70%

Format: Asynchronous online via downloadable presentations, digital readings, weekly post-based discussions and assignments, 4-6 Zoom meetings in real time over 6 months.

Course Descriptions

EFLX 8010X Organizational Planning & Leadership provides content that will lead to participant’s understanding of strategic planning, program evaluation, volunteer management, liaison and support of the school district, constituent alliance, balancing the four entities of programs, administration, development and marketing/public relations.  (Instructor: Bill Hoffman)

EFLX 8020X Legal Requirements highlights the unique organizational requirements of a non-profit as they relate to governing documents, legal and Internal Revenue Service requirements, donor requirements, gift restrictions, ethical considerations, and basic human resource issues.  (Instructor: James Hanks, Esq.)

EFLX 8030X Financial Management explores the unique organizational needs of a public education foundation non-profit as they relate to the financial management systems, function and evaluation systems. This includes endowment management, investments, audits, gift management, reporting, and analysis.  (Instructor: Shannon Soto, Ed.D.)

EFLX 8040X Resource Development & Marketing provides a comprehensive understanding of the critical components of resource development and marketing including terminology, strategies and techniques necessary to maximize the financial resources available for an education foundation. (Instructor: Sara D. Bender, CEFL)

EFLX 8050X Board Development the unique organizational needs of a public education foundation non-profit as they relate to the development of a governing Board. This includes the relationship with the School District, the School Board, cultivation, recruitment, orientation, evaluation, giving/participation and celebrations.  (Instructor: Bill Hoffman)

 EFLX 8060X Educational Collaboration delves into the formal and informal organizational structure of most school districts in the United States. These understandings will be as related to: curriculum and instruction, personnel management, financial and legal issues, community relations and governance.  (Instructor: Dr. Wayne Padover)

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