Academy for Excellence

The Academy for Excellence in Local Governance (The Academy) voluntary certificate program is a collaborative effort involving MACo, the Maryland Municipal League (MML), the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT), and the School of Public Policy of the University of Maryland, College Park, that also serves as the program administrator.

The Academy certificate program is voluntary. Enrolled county government officials are required to take 8 "core" classes and 6 "elective" classes, all available on a rotation basis during MACo Winter and Summer Conferences and at LGIT. Scroll down for more details! 

Elected County Officials

Upon request, MACo will contribute $150 toward the $250 enrollment fee for county ELECTED officials in the Academy. Use the County Elected Officials form to enroll.

Appointed County Officials and County Employees

County appointed officials may complete and mail the General Enrollment Form or contact the School of Public Policy. The telephone number is 301.405.6227.

Need to keep track of your Academy courses?

Download an Academy courses Tracking Form.

Why the Academy?

The Academy is provided as an educational response to the professional education needs of Maryland local government officials. Local governments are increasingly asked to do more, often with fewer resources. The downsizing of the federal and state government has placed more decision making at the local level and, at the same time, reduced the training and technical support available to local officials. Often officials are called on to understand and make decisions on highly complex issues with grave implications to their jurisdictions. Citizen distrust, accountability mandates, and public apathy complicate an already difficult situation. The Academy’s curriculum is designed to help local officials, especially newly elected officials, meet the challenges of their role.

Purpose and Objectives

By providing enhanced educational opportunities, the Academy will train informed and responsible local officials to give Maryland jurisdictions the leadership needed to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Specific objectives are (1) to increase understanding of local government and how it functions; (2) to promote high ethical standards in public service; (3) to provide an informational base for more informed policy making; (4) to develop capacity of local officials to govern effectively; and (5) to recognize local officials for their educational efforts.

What Do You Get?

Upon completion of the program, a graduation is held in the University Chapel at the University of Maryland, College Park, where each graduate receives a certificate signed by the President of the University. A dessert reception follows. A press release is mailed to your local media announcing that you have completed this important educational program.

What’s Next?

Once a Fellow graduates from the Academy program, they may become a “Torchbearer” by participating in an ongoing annual program. Graduate Fellows pursue ongoing professional education opportunities by participating in Academy Graduate courses, retaking Academy Core workshops, mentoring others in local government, or participating on various Boards and Committees. Graduate Fellows who fulfill the participation requirements are recognized as Torchbearers at the MACo and MML conferences. View the Torchbearer requirements or contact Elizabeth Hinson for more information:

Want to Become an Academy Instructor?

The Academy accepts instructor applications on a rolling basis for those interested in teaching Academy Core Courses. Interested applicants should complete the application and send it to

For more information...

Please visit the School of Public Policy to learn more about the Academy.