Redefining educational leadership: Discover the leader and person you’re meant to be.
Build on your experience as an educator to become a confident, compassionate, and ethical leader. Whether you’re leading a school, district, or special education program, Saint Mary’s Education Specialist (Ed.S.) program empowers you to lead with integrity in today’s complex educational landscape. Develop critical thinking and decision-making skills crucial for effective leadership. Learn how to break down barriers and build up school communities while ensuring a quality and equitable education for all learners.
Our program awards the Ed.S. degree (with six additional credits) after completing Minnesota administrative licensure preparation in these areas:
K–12 principal (29 credits)*
Director of special education (29 credits)*
Superintendency (6 credits with a completed K-12 principal or director of special education licensure)
*Complete both the initial K-12 principal and director of special education Minnesota licensure specialist preparation for 41 credits.
Learn to Lead with Confidence and Character
Strengthen your leadership skills from a virtue and character perspective. In 2019, Saint Mary’s received a $1.7 million grant from the Kern Family Foundation to develop an enhanced curriculum in the Ed.S. program that emphasizes the moral character of educational leaders. Our practitioner-based curriculum is designed to equip you with sound theory, practical skills, and personal formation to become an educational leader of both competence and character. Here, you’ll learn to serve as a moral leader in your school and community.
Learn more about the work we’ve done so far and ongoing character and virtue education initiatives at Saint Mary’s.
Virtual Information Session
Please join us on Wednesday, April 5th from 4-4:45pm to learn more about our Ed.S. in Educational Administration program. Register below!
The Education Specialist degree program prepares you to pursue a leadership role as a K-12 principal, superintendent, or director of special education. In our fully online leadership program, you’ll learn to meet the complex challenges of 21st-century educational leadership with character and integrity.
29 for K-12 principal or director of special education
41 for both principal and special education director
Additional credits for superintendent and to obtain the Ed.S. degree.
Two-day Summer Institute
What Makes it Special
Earn your administrative certificate in as little as two years
Fall and spring start dates
Two-day Summer Institute on the Minneapolis Campus
Character education and virtue formation are embedded across courses
What You'll Learn
What You’ll Learn
Collaborative, visionary planning, and decision making to lead education institutions
Operational management including human, financial, and physical resources
Effective learning environments and experiences for all students
Practical ethical leadership to ensure the best interest of all learners
Appreciation and cultivation of diversity
Inclusiveness and effective communication
Redefining character education
The annual Summer Institute, held on Saint Mary’s Minneapolis Campus, enhances the curriculum of the Ed.S. program with an emphasis on character, virtue, and ethics. The Summer Institute features speakers and formation activities aimed to equip you to become a leader of character and lead schools of character. It’s a transformative experience that is professionally and personally rewarding
“Attending the Summer Institute not only provided a wonderful opportunity to connect in-person with my colleagues in the program, it also challenged me as a leader to redefine character education for myself and my school.”
– Taylor Rub, student in the Ed.S. program and director of curriculum and assessment at Hiawatha Academies.
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 obtain a graduate certificate, complete six credits toward superintendency preparation, or complete the Ed.S. degree.
License and Teaching Requirements
To be eligible for Minnesota administrative licensure preparation, you must have three years of classroom teaching experience and a valid state teaching license OR three years of experience as a school psychologist, social worker, counselor, or speech/language pathologist and the commensurate licensure. If you do not meet these requirements you may choose to complete the Saint Mary’s Alternative Pathway program to administrative licensure, which can be completed simultaneously with program coursework.
For additional information on Saint Mary’s educational administration licensure programs, visit our Professional Licensure page.
With an Ed.S. degree, you can pursue careers in educational leadership, empowering yourself to improve the quality of education for all learners and school communities. In Minnesota, K-12 education administrators earn an annual median salary of $101,520.1
Principal$98,420 per year*
Instructional Coordinator$63,740 per year*
Post-secondary teacher$79,640 per year*
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I earn an Ed.S. in Educational Administration degree?
Complete your initial Minnesota administrative licensure coursework (minimum of 29 credits) and choose to complete the Ed.S. in Educational Administration degree. The degree is awarded upon successful completion of three additional courses, including an action research methods course, an action research seminar course in which you’ll complete and document your action research project in a thesis, and a presentation of your research thesis during your exit assessment.
How do I earn a Minnesota director of special education license?
Courses in the Director of Special Education Graduate 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 EDS 795: The Special Education Director course. You’ll compile an electronic portfolio documenting the development of your competency throughout the courses and internship. An electronic portfolio is presented at your exit assessment meeting.
How do I earn a Minnesota K-12 principal license?
Courses in the K–12 Principal Graduate Certificate program provide an understanding of the 12 core administrative competencies. These include core courses required for all administrative licensure preparation and three 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 EDS 750: Principal as Building Leader course. You’ll compile an electronic portfolio documenting the development of your competency throughout the courses and internship. An electronic portfolio is presented at your exit assessment meeting.
How do I earn a Minnesota superintendent license?
Courses in the Superintendent Graduate 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. You must have 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.
1. O*NET Online, Minnesota Wages, Education Administrators, Kindergarten through Secondary at https://www.onetonline.org/link/localwages/11-9032.00?st=MN (Visited May 24, 2022).