Promoting good governance.

The Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF) is an independent, non-profit organization formed to promote good governance and best practices among California’s special districts through certification, accreditation and other recognition programs. The SDLF and its activities are supported by the California Special Districts Association and the Special District Risk Management Authority.

Certificate in Special District Governance

Designed to honor special district board members and trustees, and is comprised of two distinct parts: the completion of the Special District Leadership Academy and 10 hours of continuing education. The Special District Leadership Academy is comprised of four courses unique in that the curriculum has been created by special districts and agreed upon as what governing officials of special districts should know. SDLF has endorsed the Academy as the core special district governance training in California.

Essential Leadership Skills Certificate

Offers special district employees who are aspiring to be general managers the opportunity to be recognized for learning essential skills needed for success in local government leadership. Earning this certificate demonstrates training in critical skills to competently lead special districts. The modules are taught by experienced certified special district managers and local government experts.

Certified Special District Manager

This is a voluntary designation sought by individuals who strive to be the best. Managers with various academic and professional backgrounds can be candidates for the program. Guided by the SDLF Board, Certification Advisory Committee, and under direction by a professional examination development firm, this certification will give successful candidates recognition unmatched by other programs. This certification helps document and recognize a candidate’s knowledge, skills and capabilities as a certified special district manager.

District Transparency Certificate of Excellence

This program was created in an effort to promote transparency in the operations and governance of special districts to the public and to provide special districts with an opportunity to showcase their efforts in transparency. There are no fees for this certificate and is valid for three years. Three main subject areas: Basic Transparency Requirements; Website Requirements; and Outreach Requirements - These are only a sampling of all the requirements needed to complete the transparency certificate.


District of Distinction Accreditation

In a time where proper fiscal management and responsibility in public agencies is paramount and the task of governing these agencies has become even more complex, regulated and costly, it has become increasingly important to demonstrate to constituents that districts have sound fiscal management policies and practices in place among other areas of importance in district operations. This accreditation is designed as a way for districts to highlight their prudent fiscal practices along with other areas important to effectively operate and govern a special district and this is valid for three years.