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Graduate Certificate in Education Administration: Director of Special Education

The Graduate Certificate in Education Administration for licensure as a Director of Special Education is designed for students seeking a Director of Special Education license.

The Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Education Administration: Director of Special Education Graduate Certificate program is designed for students who have already earned a master’s degree to develop school administrative leadership and management skills. Minnesota State requirements for Directors of Special Education are embedded in the courses. The curriculum is practitioner-focused, with an emphasis on applying organizational leadership theories with practical skills needed by school administrators to become leaders of effective learning organizations.

Administrative Licensure Preparation Pathway

The program consists of 29 credits for initial K–12 Principal or Director of Special Education preparation (or 35 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.

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.

Special Education Director Outcomes

As a student of the Director of Special Education Certificate program, you will have intentional focus on:

Policy and Law—Interpret and apply laws and policies regulating special education programs.

Organizational Management—Identify and explain policies and procedures regulating districts, boards, and special education.

Resource Allocation—Identify and explain programs, resources, and agencies related to special education.

Gainful Employment Information

Effective July 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of Education requires institutions with nondegree programs defined as “Gainful Employment programs” to disclose certain information about these programs. Read the report.

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 metro.

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

Locations

This program is offered at our Twin Cities location. 

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

Core Educational Administration Credits 17 cr.
Special Education Director Courses 12 cr.
Certificate Completion   0 cr.
Total 29 cr.

 


Core Educational Administration Credits: 17 cr.

EDS701 Orientation and Assessment (0 cr.)

This mandatory session acquaints students beginning their academic work with the policies, procedures, and expectations of the program. Frequently asked questions are addressed. The sequence of core classes, field experience expectations and procedures, portfolio creation, action research project overview, and exit examination meeting are discussed. A writing assessment is administered.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Explain the expectations of the K-12 Administrative Licensure in Minnesota and the Education Specialist Degree in Education Administration at Saint Mary's University.
  2. Demonstrate written communication skills.

EDS706 Student Assessment and Program Evaluation (2 cr.)

This course explores the components of effective program evaluation models and examines assessment processes of and for student learning. The skills administrators need to access, interpret, and effectively communicate assessment data are practiced. Strategies to develop an inclusive environment and culturally responsive teaching practices are examined with respect to student learning, with a focus on literacy and numeracy.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Analyze and evaluate current student assessment processes using data to document student learning and development.
  2. Design an inclusive learning environment.
  3. Analyze program assessment models and key variables that impact successful implementation.
  4. Utilize technology to design curriculum, assessment, and instruction.
  5. Examine and evaluate various components of curriculum development processes that promote equity for all learners, including team building, data analysis, vertical and horizontal alignment, material selection, implementation, and on-going assessment.
  6. Interpret and communicate the results of data-based assessment and program evaluation to different constituencies.

EDS710 Leadership Theory (3 cr.)

The course focuses on applied theories of leadership behavior. It surveys the concepts of leadership effectiveness: leaders as change agents, and leaders as servants. The roles of leadership in organizational communication, control, empowerment, and conflict resolution are analyzed.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Analyze and demonstrate strategies for improving the organizational structure and culture and climate for all stakeholders.
  2. Evaluate models of leadership theories.
  3. Apply leadership theories to appropriate situations.
  4. Analyze strategies that ground effective organizational leadership.
  5. Evaluate self-discovery as a factor in leadership.
  6. Evaluate the development of organizational vision.
  7. Evaluate the role of culture in leadership.
  8. Evaluate the role of ethics in leadership.
  9. Analyze the value of organizational diversity.
  10. Facilitate and evaluate organizational change.
  11. Demonstrate effective communication in various leadership situations.
     

 

EDS716 Leadership for Teaching and Learning (2 cr.)

The complex role of the instructional leader is defined through the exploration and analysis of staff development programs and instructional improvement strategies. Advocacy for curriculum, assessment, and instruction is examined. Supervision of instruction is emphasized based upon current statutes and regulations pertaining to staff development and evaluation. Research-based strategies for differentiating learning for special populations are investigated. The necessity for building communities of professional practice is studied as a key component in the development of a continuous school improvement model.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following

  1. Analyze the characteristics of effective instructional leaders.
  2. Practice advocacy for curriculum, assessment, and instruction for all learners.
  3. Design instructional strategies that incorporate each of the following into an organization's practice and routine: inclusion, multiple intelligences, personalized learning, learning styles, constructivism, authentic assessment, and inquiry for all student populations.
  4. Analyze and interpret current legal and contractual requirements for staff development/evaluation, and plan staff development to improve instructional skills and professional practices for all staff.
  5. Develop interventions and programmatic alternatives for students based on the results of various formal and informal assessments.
  6. Develop a structure to create a community of professional practice to enhance staff collaboration.

EDS720 Organization and Human Resource Management (2 cr.)

This course examines the organization, management, and evaluation of human, monetary, and physical resources needed for institutional improvement at all pre-K-12 educational levels. Policies and systems, and communication and negotiation skills to foster positive and productive performance from faculty and staff are analyzed using traditional and technological tools and resources.       

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Describe school and district staffing models and options for elementary and secondary schools.
  2. Plan, develop, and support a comprehensive program of student activities.
  3. Explain collective bargaining agreements and their provisions. 
  4. Design effective staff selection and employment practices that accommodate stakeholders, state licensing requirements, building and district needs, and school priorities.
  5. Evaluate options for professional and paraprofessional staff and evaluation.
  6. Describe the processes and considerations required for staff disciplinary actions, including federal and state due process provisions and district and professional organization contract provisions.

EDS731 Shaping an Inclusive School Culture (3 cr.)

The focus of this course is to develop leadership skills to promote, create, and monitor systems in the school and district that result in a nondiscriminatory, positive learning environment for all students.  Special emphasis is given to culturally, economically, and academically diverse students.  The effects of mental health conditions on the learning environment, including the roles and responsibilities of mental health professionals, are examined. Responses to contemporary issues facing school leaders, including student bullying, sexual orientation, gender identification, chemical dependency, suicide, and assault, are explored.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Articulate leadership strategies to work with diversity in learning communities.
  2. Analyze differing needs of culturally, economically, and academically diverse students.
  3. Create plans for an inclusive learning environment that meets the needs of all students.
  4. Develop strategies to adapt educational programming to meet the needs of diverse constituencies.
  5. Explain the effects of various mental health conditions, including the effects of medication, on the educational, physical, social, and emotional needs of students.
  6. Articulate the roles and responsibilities of mental health and school health professionals in serving students and families in the school setting.
  7. Address the social, emotional, and academic needs of students from culturally diverse backgrounds.

EDS735 Student Management (2 cr.)

This course focuses on creating and sustaining safe, constructive learning environments. Behavior management systems and the use of instructional assessments, and instructional accommodations to establish a constructive environment for all learners are addressed.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Analyze characteristics of effective instructional designs.
  2. Analyze various behavior management plans.
  3. Articulate issues and concerns related to students transitioning from one school and/or program level to another.
  4. Develop options for responding to various student behaviors.
  5. Formulate safety and security policies, plans and procedures for a safe and secure building, including areas of vulnerability and emergency response.
     

EDS740 Ethical Issues for Administrators (3 cr.)

This course focuses on the role of education in a democratic society and the ethical and moral leadership of school administrators. The balance of complex community demands in ethical decision making to serve the best interest of learners is examined. The Minnesota Board of School Administrators (MSBA) Code of Ethics is analyzed and its impact on the school climate and curriculum is examined.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Create plans to balance complex demands to best serve school constituencies.
  2. Analyze the interplay among the democratic value system, ethics, and moral leadership in education.
  3. Analyze the MBSA Code of Ethics and use it as a basis for situational analysis.
  4. Identify and balance complex community demands to best help learners develop as caring, informed citizens.
  5. Evaluate the issues of diversity and community relations in leading educational communities.
     

Special Education Director Courses: 12 cr.

EDS772 Resource Allocation for Special Education Directors (3 cr.)

The emphasis of this course is on budget planning, allocation, monitoring, reporting, and auditing practices as applied to special education programs and school districts in Minnesota.  Financial systems at the state, district, and school levels are examined. Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as revised, is studied specifically as it relates to financial support. Potential sources of funding for educational technologies and specialized instructional strategies used to support special education programs and students are examined.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Describe current systems of special education funding in Minnesota.     
  2. Demonstrate understanding of revenue sources used to finance special education in Minnesota.  
  3. Apply the principles of fund accounting used in the Uniform Financial Accounting and Reporting System (UFARS) for Minnesota Schools in development of budgets and the chart of accounts.
  4. Evaluate differing methods of budget development, their implementation, and their strengths and limitations in special education in Minnesota.
  5. Analyze requirements, guidelines, and options for staffing special education systems in Minnesota.
  6. Analyze the advantages, liabilities, and appropriate use of various assistive technologies and special education instructional strategies.
  7. Evaluate funding options to support technologies and specialized treatments.

EDS773 Legal Issues in Special Education (3 cr.)

This course identifies and analyzes the laws and rules governing special education programs and school districts in Minnesota.  Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as revised, is studied specifically as it relates to legal requirements.  Education case law, contract law, labor relations, policies, and regulations pertinent to special education in Minnesota are discussed. Program options and dispute resolution processes and resources are examined.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Interpret state and federal regulations governing the monitoring of special education programs.   
  2. Review, analyze and interpret state and federal laws related to special education.  
  3. Apply relevant case law, rules, policies and regulations to special education.  
  4. Analyze issues and legal concepts specific to special education school law.
  5. Articulate the process of dispute resolution as it pertains to conflict with parents, students, staff, and various advocacy groups.
  6. Analyze legal requirements regarding assistive technologies and specialized instructional strategies used to support special education programs and students.

EDS777 Exit Assessment Meeting (0 cr.)

This course is the concluding activity for a student seeking education administration licensure as a director of special education in Minnesota. Achievement of the state-identified competencies is evaluated based on the student's portfolio presentation to a committee and responses to questions raised regarding leadership and problem-solving situations. Students are required to submit evidence of competencies; a personal assessment of their growth in the competencies; and a competency reflection in which they relate their preparation, growth, increased insight, and understanding for each competency. A record of the hours logged during the three-credit field experience is also submitted.

Upon completion of this activity, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Prepare a portfolio documenting achievement of the director of special education competencies for presentation to a panel of university faculty and practicing administrators.
  2. Respond to case study situations to demonstrate critical analysis and problem-solving skills.
  3. Complete the necessary forms and documentation required to secure university endorsement for application to the Department of Education for director of special education licensure.

EDS791 Director of Special Education Field Experience I (1 cr.)

The administrative field experience internship offers students opportunities to practice the knowledge and skills within the state-identified competencies for administrative licensure. Over the span of the three 1-credit courses, a total of 320 hours of service, under the supervision of an onsite licensed practicing administrator and a university advisor, are documented. Approximately 107 hours are completed per credit. Among the total 320 hours, at least 40 hours must be logged at a second education organization at the top leadership level. Students have, by Minnesota statute, a 12-month period to complete the 320 total hours.

Upon completion of each field experience course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Log approximately 107 hours of administrative field experience.
  2. Complete hours toward accumulating at least 40 hours at a second education organization at the top leadership level.
  3. Practice the skills associated with the competencies for effective school leadership as prescribed by Minnesota Statues.
  4. Appraise and reflect on their knowledge of leadership techniques associated with school leadership.
  5. Compose, collect, and assemble items of evidence documenting engagement in activities which support personal growth in the competencies.

 

EDS792 Director of Special Education Field Experience II (1 cr.)

The administrative field experience internship offers students opportunities to practice the knowledge and skills within the state-identified competencies for administrative licensure. Over the span of the three 1-credit courses, a total of 320 hours of service, under the supervision of an on site licensed practicing administrator and a university advisor, are documented. Approximately 107 hours are completed per credit. Among the total 320 hours, at least 40 hours must be logged at a second education organization at the top leadership level. Students have, by Minnesota statute, a 12-month period to complete the 320 total hours.

Upon completion of each field experience course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Log approximately 107 hours of administrative field experience.
  2. Complete hours toward accumulating at least 40 hours at a second education organization at the top leadership level.
  3. Practice the skills associated with the competencies for effective school leadership as prescribed by Minnesota Statues.
  4. Appraise and reflect on their knowledge of leadership techniques associated with school leadership.
  5. Compose, collect, and assemble items of evidence documenting engagement in activities which support personal growth in the competencies.

     

EDS793 Director of Special Education Field Experience III (1 cr.)

The administrative field experience internship offers students opportunities to practice the knowledge and skills within the state-identified competencies for administrative licensure. Over the span of the three 1-credit courses, a total of 320 hours of service, under the supervision of an on site licensed practicing administrator and a university advisor, are documented. Approximately 107 hours are completed per credit. Among the total 320 hours, at least 40 hours must be logged at a second education organization at the top leadership level. Students have, by Minnesota statute, a 12-month period to complete the 320 total hours.

Upon completion of each field experience course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Log approximately 107 hours of administrative field experience.
  2. Complete hours toward accumulating at least 40 hours at a second education organization at the top leadership level.
  3. Practice the skills associated with the competencies for effective school leadership as prescribed by Minnesota Statues.
  4. Appraise and reflect on their knowledge of leadership techniques associated with school leadership.
  5. Compose, collect, and assemble items of evidence documenting engagement in activities which support personal growth in the competencies.

     

EDS794 Director of Special Education Seminar (0 cr.)

These graded seminar sessions are intended to provide a forum in which to reflect on events, circumstances, and responsibilities experienced in the field experience internship. Requirements mandated by Minnesota statutes and the university are reviewed. Job acquisition skills are developed, including cover letter composition, interviewing, resume development, and job search strategies. An introduction to creating the student's required electronic portfolio is provided.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following;

  1. Compose an effective education administrator's cover letter and resume.
  2. Judge the adequacy or value of their field experiences based on reflection and sharing.
  3. Participate in mock job interviews as both an interviewer and interviewee.
  4. Organize and prepare various elements of an administrator's professional electronic portfolio.

EDS795 The Special Education Director (3 cr.)

In this course the core competencies specifically required of school district leader of special education are analyzed. Among the topics are federal and state laws, rules and procedures governing special education: statutory regulations regarding board meeting procedures that affect special education governance; management of special education program models acceptable in Minnesota: and the use of and accounting procedures for various resource allocation models.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify and evaluate programs, resources, and agencies/organizations available to children with special needs and their families.
  2. Analyze and evaluate special education administrative and service models used in Minnesota, including provisions for needs assessment, program development/design, and assessment of outcomes.
  3. Identify and critique policies, procedures, and issues regulating special education services.
  4. Interpret state and federal regulations governing the monitoring of special education programs, including Minnesota's Continuous Improvement Monitoring Process
  5. Interpret and apply key requirements of IDEA and No Child Left Behind legislation that affect special education students and programs.
  6. Analyze and recommend approaches to recruit, train, and retain highly qualified special education staff.
  7. Create strategies for relating to special education advocacy groups, including instructional staff, other district administrators, outside agencies, school board members, and Minnesota Department of Education.
  8. Describe and evaluate when to use assistive technologies and specialized instructional strategies to support special education programs and students.

Certificate Completion: 0 cr.

EDS777 Exit Assessment Meeting (0 cr.)

This course is the concluding activity for a student seeking education administration licensure as a director of special education in Minnesota. Achievement of the state-identified competencies is evaluated based on the student's portfolio presentation to a committee and responses to questions raised regarding leadership and problem-solving situations. Students are required to submit evidence of competencies; a personal assessment of their growth in the competencies; and a competency reflection in which they relate their preparation, growth, increased insight, and understanding for each competency. A record of the hours logged during the three-credit field experience is also submitted.

Upon completion of this activity, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Prepare a portfolio documenting achievement of the director of special education competencies for presentation to a panel of university faculty and practicing administrators.
  2. Respond to case study situations to demonstrate critical analysis and problem-solving skills.
  3. Complete the necessary forms and documentation required to secure university endorsement for application to the Department of Education for director of special education licensure.

Connect With Us

Michelle Dougherty, M.A.

SGPP Admission - Assistant Director of Admission

LaSalle Hall-TC Campus, LSH112

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5122

mdougher@smumn.edu

Faculty

William Bjorum, Ed.D.

Educational Specialist in Educational Admin. - Program Director

Mother Teresa Hall-TC Campus, MTH19

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5126

wbjorum@smumn.edu

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

cwahlstr@smumn.edu

Carl Wahlstrom Ed.D.
Matthew Neil

Education Administration Programs - Program Coordinator

The Heights, HT201

Campus Box: # 68

(612) 728-5155

mneil@smumn.edu

Matthew Neil
Madeline Matthews

M.A. in Teaching - Minneapolis Program Coordinator

Mother Teresa Hall-TC Campus, MTH23

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 238-4562

mmatthew@smumn.edu

Madeline Matthews
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

(218) 744-7707

djhild07@smumn.edu

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

(952) 975-7165

jpladson@smumn.edu

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

Campus Box: # 28

(507) 449-0010

gspath@smumn.edu

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

Education - Advisor

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5204

bstoffer@smumn.edu

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