Leaders in Education

Today’s educational leaders need to confidently navigate complex educational issues, establish strategic direction to ensure student outcomes, communicate effectively with multiple audiences, and build and inspire teams that are committed to student success. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota will provide the knowledge on how to do so.

With classes taught by experienced administrators, the Saint Mary’s Education Specialist in Educational Administration degree will provide you with the educational foundation you need to successfully manage the demands of a contemporary school community as a K–12 principal, director of special education, or superintendent.

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Administrative Licensure Preparation Pathways

Our practitioner-focused curriculum is taught by experienced administrators and experts in the field. In the administrative preparation segment of the program, you’ll master the competencies common to all areas of educational administrative licensure in Minnesota. Instruction focuses on combining organizational leadership theories with the practical skills that school administrators need to become effective leaders of learning organizations.

The program consists of 29 credits for initial K–12 Principal or Director of Special Education preparation (or 41 credits for both). You may then choose to stop out and obtain a graduate certificate, complete 6 credits towards superintendency preparation, or complete the Ed.S. degree.

Courses in the K–12 Principal Certificate program are intended to provide an understanding of the 13 core administrative competencies. These include core courses required for all administrative licensure preparation and two courses that are specific to principal leadership: the field experience internship (a 320 hour field experience internship with a minimum of 40 hours at elementary, junior/middle, and high school levels) and the Principal as Building Leader course.

Students compile an electronic portfolio documenting the development of their competencies throughout the courses and internship.

Courses in the Superintendent Certificate program are intended to provide an understanding of the 13 core competencies and those specific to the superintendency. These include core courses required for all administrative licensure preparation and those required for superintendent licensure: the field experience internship (a 320 hour field experience internship with a minimum of 40 hours at a second district or organization) and EDS 760: The Superintendency, a course covering the specific competencies of the superintendency.

Potential students must possess a master's degree in an education-related field, have completed principal or director of special education licensure (in most cases), and have experience in education leadership.

Courses in the Director of Special Education Certificate program are intended to provide an understanding of the 13 core administrative competencies and those specific to the Director of Special Education license. These include core courses required for all administrative licensure preparation and four courses specific to special education director licensure: the field experience internship (a 320 hour field experience internship with a minimum of 40 hours at a second district or organization) and The Special Education Director course.

Students compile an electronic portfolio documenting the development of their competency throughout the courses and internship. An efolio is presented at their exit assessment meeting.

Those who have completed their initial administrative license (minimum of 29 credits) may choose to complete the Ed.S. in Educational Administration degree. The Education Specialist degree is awarded upon successful completion of three additional courses, including an action research methods course, an action research seminar course in which students complete and document their action research project in a thesis, and a presentation of their research thesis during their exiting assessment. 

License and Teaching Requirements

In order to be eligible for Minnesota administrative licensure preparation, individuals must have three years of classroom teaching experience and a valid state teaching license. Those who do not meet these requirements may choose to complete the Saint Mary’s Alternative Pathway program to administrative licensure, which can be completed simultaneously with program coursework.

Program Outcomes

The following outcomes are state-identified competencies for an educational administration degree from Saint Mary's.

Leadership—Lead educational institutions and departments through collaborative, visionary planning and decision making.

Organizational Management—Manage and evaluate organizational operations including human, monetary, and physical resources for institutional improvement.

Diversity Leadership—Promote, create, and monitor appreciation and cultivation of diversity.

Policy and Law—Interpret, develop, and implement local, state, and federal policy and law.

Political Influence and Governance—Nurture a cooperative alliance of key stakeholders to influence the politics and governance of educational institutions.

Communication—Utilize communication skills essential to inform and facilitate effective organizational communication.

Community Relations—Establish and maintain positive and effective community relations relative to educational institutions.

Curriculum Planning and Development for the Success of All Learners—Facilitate the planning and development of curriculum, assessment, and instruction.

Instructional Management for the Success of All Learners—Design, implement, and support instruction, assessment strategies, and behavior management.

Use Research Effectively—Integrate current research appropriate for all learners.

Human Resource Management—Interpret, apply, and manage policies and procedures, which foster positive and productive performance from faculty and staff.

Values and Ethics of Leadership—Practice ethical leadership, ensuring the best interest of all learners.

Judgment and Problem Analysis—Implement and facilitate problem-solving strategies integrating critical thinking, creativity, logic, and collaboration.

Safety and Security—Create safety and security plans to sustain an emotionally and physically safe educational environment for all.

From Start to Finish

  • You can earn your administrative license in a little less than two years.
  • A cohort model allows for a small team of students to collaborate in convenient locations across the state. Cohorts are offered each semester throughout the state.

Contact us to talk through location options in your area.

Apply Now

Applicants must submit the following:

  1. Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel), and
  2. An official transcript issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor degree, master's degree, and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits. (An official transcript is one that is sent to the university by the credit-granting institution. Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated by a university accepted evaluation source, such as World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators, Educational Perspectives, or One Earth International Credential Evaluators and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards).
  3. A reflective essay which includes the following:
    • brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience; and
    • statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and his or her reasons for seeking admission to the program; and
    • description of the areas the applicant considers to be his or her strengths and areas in which the applicant wishes to develop greater strengths and abilities; and
    • personal information the applicant wishes to share.
  4. Two letters of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability; and
  5. A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.
  6. Applicants with international transcripts may require an English language proficiency exam (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or MELAB accepted.)

Please Note: Application materials should be sent to the attention of the Office of Admission on the Twin Cities campus.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Office of Admission
2500 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN  55404


This program is offered at our Twin Cities, Oakdale, and Apple Valley locations and regional cohorts. 

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

Alternate Pathway

Applicants who do not have the required three years of successful classroom teaching experience and/or classroom teaching licensure may be considered for provisional admission into the Ed.S. program or the graduate certificate program in Educational Administration through an alternate pathway option. Upon successful completion of the alternate pathway course students will be considered for regular admission.

There are three major components of the pathway contained within four 1-credit graduate level courses including 1050 hours of school classroom experience, a required guided teaching experience of 8 weeks (240 hours), and an electronic portfolio documenting completion of the pathway requirements.

Component 1: 1050 hours

Candidates are required to log time served studying and learning about pre-kindergarten, elementary, junior high/middle school, and high school levels, gaining knowledge and skills in 12 areas described in the student learning objectives.

Component 2: Guided Teaching Component

Candidates will log a minimum of 8 weeks (240 hours) of guided teaching.  This is expected to be a graduated direct teaching experience under a mentoring administrator, but may not be limited to a single course, class, subject, or group.

Component 3: Electronic Portfolio

In order to demonstrate basic knowledge and skills as required by the Minnesota Rule (MR) 3512.0700, the culmination of the pathway is the presentation of an electronic portfolio.  The portfolio should demonstrate the appropriate teaching knowledge, skills, and experiences of the 12 student learning objectives and will be presented to a panel consisting of university and K-12 school advisors and staff.

EDS691, EDS692, EDS693, EDS694 Alternate Pathway Prerequisite courses (1 cr. per course, four credits in total)

Connect With Us

Michelle Dougherty, M.A.

SGPP Admission - Assistant Director of Admission

LaSalle Hall-TC Campus, LSH114

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5122



William Bjorum, Ed.D.

Educational Specialist in Educational Admin. - Program Director

Mother Teresa Hall-TC Campus, MTH19

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5126


William Bjorum Ed.D.
Carl Wahlstrom, Ed.D.

Associate Director - Education Specialist in Educational Administration, Education - Adjunct Professor

Mother Teresa Hall-TC Campus, MTH21

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 238-4539


Carl Wahlstrom Ed.D.
Matthew Neil

Education Administration Programs - Program Coordinator

The Heights, HT201

Campus Box: # 68

(612) 728-5155


Matthew Neil
Jennifer Backer, M.Ed.

Ed.S. in Educational Administration - Adjunct Instructor

Thomas Coughlin, M.S.

Education Admin - Adjunct Assistant Professor

Deborah Hilde, M.A.

Education - Adjunct Program Instructor

Lyle Koski, Ph.D.

Educational Administrative Licensure Program - Adjunct Associate Professor

Susan Manikowski, M.Ed.

MA Education Program - Adjunct Assistant Professor

Karen Mortenson, M.S.

Ed.S. Education Administration Program - Adjunct Associate Professor

Janet Pladson, Ed.D.

Ed.S. In Educational Admin. - Adjunct Assistant Professor

Bruce Santerre, Ed.D.

Ed.S. In Educational Administration - Adjunct Assistant Professor

Susan Slater, Ed.D.

Educational Administration Licensure - Adjunct

Gregory Spath, Ed.S.

Educational Admin Licensure - Adjunct Program Instructor

Gregory Spath Ed.S.
Beverly Stofferahn, M.S.

Education - Advisor

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