The Education Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) in Educational Administration program is designed for students who already have earned a master’s degree to develop school administrative leadership and management skills and research techniques. Minnesota State requirements for elementary and secondary principals, superintendents, or special education directors are embedded in the courses and the program completion options. The curriculum is practitioner-focused with an emphasis on action research. Instruction focuses on applying organizational leadership theories with practical skills needed by school administrators to become leaders of effective learning organizations.
The following outcomes are state-identified competencies for educational administration:
Core Program Outcomes
The following outcomes are state-identified core competencies for educational administration:
- demonstrate leadership by collaboratively assessing and improving a professional culture of engagement, ethical and equitable practice, and systems perspective;
- demonstrate leadership by the development of an educational mission for the school or district, which provides purpose and direction for individuals and groups;
- demonstrate shared leadership and decision-making strategies and empower and entrust teachers and staff with collective responsibility for meeting the academic, social, behavioral, emotional, and physical needs of each student pursuant to the mission, vision, and core values of the school;
- understand how education is impacted by historical, local, state, national, and international events and issues;
- through a visioning process, formulate strategic plans and goals with staff and community to promote the academic success and well-being of each student;
- set priorities in the context of stakeholder needs;
- serve as a spokesperson for the welfare of all learners in a multicultural context to ensure high expectations,
- understand the dynamics of change and demonstrate the ability to implement change and educational reform.
B. Organizational Management
- demonstrate an understanding of organizational systems, including structural and cultural dynamics;
- define and use processes for gathering, analyzing, managing, and using data to plan and make decisions for program evaluation;
- plan and schedule personal and organizational work, establish procedures to regulate activities and projects, and delegate and empower others at appropriate levels;
- demonstrate the ability to analyze need and allocate personnel and material resources;
- develop and manage budgets and maintain accurate fiscal records;
- demonstrate an understanding of facilities development, planning, and management; and
- understand and use technology as a management tool.
C. Equity and Culturally Responsive Leadership
- ensure that each student is treated fairly, respectfully, and with an understanding of each student’s culture and context;
- recognize, respect, and employ each student’s strengths, diversity, and culture as assets for teaching and learning;
- ensure that each student has equitable access to effective teachers, learning opportunities, academic and social support, and other resources necessary for success;
- ensure policies and practices are in place that prevent problem behavior, encourage positive behavior, and respond to student behavior not aligned with expectations in a positive, fair, and unbiased manner;
- promote the preparation of students to live productively in and contribute to a diverse and global society;
- address matters of equity in all aspects of leadership; and
- ensure policies and practices are in place that address student and staff mental and physical health and trauma.
D. Policy and Law
- understand and implement policy to meet local, state, and federal requirements and constitutional provisions, standards, and regulatory applications to promote student success;
- recognize and apply standards of care involving civil and criminal liability for negligence, harassment, and intentional torts; and
- demonstrate an understanding of state, federal, and case law, and rules and regulations governing general education, special education, and community education.
E. Political Influence and Governance
- exhibit an understanding of school districts as a political systems, including governance models;
- demonstrate an understanding of involving stakeholders in the development of educational policy;
- understand the role and coordination of social agencies and human services to develop productive relationships and engage resources for the school community; and
- demonstrate an understanding of processes to align constituencies in support of school and district priorities
- understand the need to develop shared understanding of and commitment to mission, vision, and core values within the school and the community;
- demonstrate individual and team facilitation skills;
- recognize and apply an understanding of individual and group behavior in all situations;
- demonstrate an understanding of conflict resolution and problem-solving strategies relative to communication;
- make presentations that are clear and easy to understand;
- respond to, review, and summarize information for groups;
- communicate appropriately, through speaking, listening, and writing, for different audiences, including students, teachers, parents, the community, and other stakeholders; and
- understand and utilize appropriate communication technology.
G. Community Relations
- articulate organizational purpose and advocate publicly for the needs and priorities of students, families, and the community;
- demonstrate the ability to engage the extended community;
- effectively generate and respond to various forms of communication through media;
- promote a positive image of schools and the school district;
- monitor and address perceptions about school-community issues; and
- demonstrate the ability to identify and articulate critical community issues that may impact local education.
H. Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for Success of All Learners
- implement state academic standards, a coherent systems of culturally responsive curriculum, instruction, and assessment that promote the mission, vision, and core values of the district to embody high expectations for student learning.
- develop, assess, and support teachers’ and staff members’ professional knowledge, skills, and practice through differentiated opportunities and emerging trends for learning and growth, guided by understanding professional and adult learning and development;
- apply research and best practices on integrating curriculum, technology, and relevant resources to help all learners achieve at high levels;
- understand and assess the implementation of alternative instructional designs, curriculum, positive approaches to behavior management, and assessment accommodations and modifications as appropriate in all programs;
- demonstrate the ability to use data from valid assessments that are consistent with knowledge of child learning and development and technical standards of measurement to monitor student progress;
- lead and assess instructional practice that is consistent with knowledge of child learning and development, effective pedagogy, and the needs of each student; and
- promote instructional practice that is consistent with knowledge of child learning and development, intellectually challenging, authentic to student experiences, recognizes student strengths, and differentiated and personalized.
I. Human Resource Management
- demonstrate knowledge of effective personnel recruitment, selection, and retention;
- demonstrate an understanding of staff development to improve the performance of all staff members;
- demonstrate the ability to select and apply appropriate models for supervision and evaluation;
- describe and demonstrate the ability to apply the legal requirements for personnel selection, development, retention, and dismissal;
- demonstrate an understanding of management responsibilities to act in accordance with federal and state constitutional provisions, statutory and case law, regulatory applications toward education, local rules, procedures, and directives governing human resource management;
- demonstrate an understanding of labor relations and collective bargaining;
- demonstrate an understanding of the administration of employee contracts, benefits, and financial accounts.
J. Values and Ethics Leadership
- demonstrate an understanding of the role of education in a democratic society;
- demonstrate an understanding of and model democratic value systems, ethics, and moral leadership;
- demonstrate the ability to balance complex community demands in the best interest of learners;
- help learners grow and develop as caring, informed citizens; and
- demonstrate an understanding and application of the code of ethics for school administrators under part 3512.5200.
K. Judgment and Problem Analysis
- identify the elements of a problem situation by analyzing relevant information, framing issues, identifying possible causes, and reframing possible solutions;
- demonstrate adaptability and conceptual flexibility;
- reach logical conclusions by making quality, timely decisions based on available information;
- identify and give priority to significant issues;
- demonstrate an understanding of and utilize appropriate technology in problem analysis; and
- demonstrate an understanding of different leadership and decision-making strategies, including but not limited to collaborative models and model appropriately their implementation.
L. Safety and Security
- demonstrate the ability to develop and implement policies and procedures for safe and secure educational environments;
- demonstrate the means to address emergency and crisis situations.
Principal Specific Outcomes
PA. Instructional Leadership
- support teachers and staff in the implementation of state academic standards, coherent systems of culturally responsive curriculum, instruction, and assessment that promote the mission, vision, and core values of the school district to embody high expectations for student learning.
- demonstrate the ability to understand and apply districtwide literacy efforts in all content areas including numeracy.
PB. Monitor Student Learning
- the ability to create a culture that fosters a community of learners;
- demonstrate an understanding of student support systems and auxiliary services;
- demonstrate the ability to implement and monitor student management system data systems;
- implement school-wide policies and practices that encourage positive behavior, and respond to student misconduct in a positive, fair, and unbiased manner;
- demonstrate the ability to develop a master instructional schedule;
- demonstrate the ability to meet the diverse learning needs of all students; and
- demonstrate the ability to understand and support a comprehensive program of student activities.
PC. PK-12 Leadership
- demonstrate an understanding of the articulation and alignment of curriculum from prekindergarten through grade 12;
- demonstrate an understanding of different organizational systems and structures at prekindergarten, elementary, middle or junior high, and high school levels;
- demonstrate the ability to work with children of all ages;
- demonstrate the ability to work with parents, teachers, and other staff in all levels of schooling;
- demonstrate an understanding of the characteristics of effective transitions from one level of schooling to the next; and
- demonstrate an understanding of the developmental needs of children of all ages.
Superintendent Specific Outcomes
SA. Policy and Law
- demonstrate an understanding of the role policy plays in school district governance and administration;
- know and apply statutory regulations affecting school board meetings, communications, procedures, and practices; and
- demonstrate an understanding of the distinct roles and responsibilities of the school board and superintendent.
SB. Political Influence and Governance
- demonstrate an understanding of the role the political process plays in public education and the connection between them;
- demonstrate an understanding of how to interact with local, state, and federal governments; and
- demonstrate an understanding of the roles played by other community leaders in the school district.
- demonstrate knowledge of cultivating positive relationships between and with school board members; and
- demonstrate effective skills in communication leadership between the school district and the community, including internal and external constituencies.
SD. Fiscal Management
- demonstrate knowledge of factors that affect school finance, including sources of revenue; expenditure classifications; generally acceptable accounting principles; and local, state, and federal finance calculation.
SE. Judgment and Problem Analysis
- effectively balance varied and competing interests to ensure the mission and vision of the school district is carried forward.
Special Education Director Specific Outcomes
SEDA. Policy and Law
- demonstrate an understanding of state and federal laws, rules, and procedures governing special education finance, budgeting, and accounting; and
- demonstrate an understanding of state and federal regulations governing the monitoring of special education services.
SEDB. Organizational Management
- demonstrate knowledge of statutory regulations relative to school districts affecting board meetings, policies, communications, procedures, and practices that affect special education governance; and
- demonstrate an understanding of special education administrative models used in Minnesota.
SEDC. Resource/Fiscal Management
- demonstrate an ability to apply state and federal laws, rules, and procedures governing special education finance, budgeting, and accounting to school district funding structures;
- demonstrate an understanding of special education program development including needs assessment, design, implementation, and evaluation; and
- demonstrate an understanding of the resources available, along with the agencies and organizations that serve students with a disability and their families.
Program Structure and Delivery
Minnesota State requirements for elementary and secondary principals, superintendents, or special education directors are embedded in the courses and the program completion options.
All students take the core courses that cover competencies common to all areas of educational administration licensure in Minnesota. Three tracks offer students the opportunity to tailor their program to the type of educational administration license they desire. If students want licensure in more than one area, additional coursework is required.
In addition, three final courses are required to earn the Education Specialist degree. These course include 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.
At the end of the program students present their action research and a portfolio. The portfolio addresses each of the 13 core program outcomes and the selected administrative position outcomes required by the State of Minnesota for licensure. All students must successfully demonstrate quality performance in the competencies in order to receive endorsement from Saint Mary’s University for their Minnesota School Administrative license.
Students may transfer a maximum of six graduate semester credits from a regionally accredited institution. Credits must have been earned during the five years prior to admission, be administrative in nature, have been approved by the program director and the dean, and have not been used as a part of another degree program. After acceptance into the program, all subsequent courses must be earned at Saint Mary’s University.
The program is offered in a flexible format to meet the needs of working adults. Classes are scheduled primarily in the evening and on the weekends during the school year, and at various times in the summer. Students are requested to remain with their cohort for the duration of the program. Instruction focuses on applying organizational leadership theories with practical skills needed by school administrators to become leaders of effective learning organizations. Courses in the program are delivered in a blended format, integrating face-to-face classroom meetings and online activities or interactions in a planned, instructionally valuable manner.
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 three 1-credit graduate level courses including 1050 hours of school classroom experience, a portfolio documenting completion of the pathway requirements, and an exit assessment meeting.
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: 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 a 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.
Component 3: Exit Meeting
The exit assessment meeting is an opportunity for the student to showcase the portfolio and demonstrate evidence of accomplishment of the 12 learning learning objectives addressed in the program. In addition, the student is asked to demonstrate that the requirements for the alternative pathway have been met in order to qualify for admittance to an education administration licensure program in Minnesota.
EDS691 , EDS692 , EDS693 Alternative Pathway Prerequisite courses (1 cr. per course, three credits in total)
Faculty members for the Education Specialist Degree in Education Administration have earned doctorates, education specialist or master’s degrees. Faculty members are selected for their combination of educational and professional experience and expertise.
Applicants must possess a master’s degree in an education-related field, including at least 21 credits from among any of the following: teaching techniques, curriculum design, communication skills, education research/assessment, education leadership or administration. If additional credits are required to meet the entrance requirement, those credits must be earned before starting Ed.S. program coursework. According to the Board of School Administrators for the State of Minnesota, an applicant for licensure as a superintendent, principal, or special education director shall have three years of successful classroom teaching experience while holding a classroom teaching license valid for the position or positions in which the experience was gained.
Applicants may apply for admission to specialist degree and doctorate degree programs at any time during the year. A master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, for which applicant maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, is required for admission. Applicants must demonstrate the language proficiency necessary for successful graduate coursework. All applicants must complete an interview with the program administrators.
Applicants must submit:
- Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel) and,
- Official transcripts issued to Saint Mary’s University from the institutions granting the applicant’s completed master’s degree(s) and other graduate level course completed (an official transcript is one that is sent or carried to the university in an envelope sealed by the granting institution. Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated by a Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota accepted evaluation source, such as World Education Services, www.ece.org, and deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. University standards.)
- As part of the application process, using the education administration competencies listed in Minnesota Rule 3512.0510, the applicant’s transcripts are evaluated by the Program Director to determine which, if any, courses may be eliminated from the applicant’s personal learning course of study. If the applicant indicates a desire for a graduate certificate or an Education Specialist degree on completion of his or her program, his or her transcript is evaluated for possible course transfer, subject to the maximum of 6 credits transfer in policy.
- All applicants must submit a reflective essay which includes:
- 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 this program and,
- description of the areas which the applicant considers to be his or her strengths and area in which the applicant wishes to develop greater strengths and abilities and,
- personal information the applicant wishes to share.
- Letters of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability and,
- A current resume listing educational background and work experience.
Please note: Application materials should be sent to the office of admission on the Twin Cities campus:
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Office of Admission
2500 Park Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55404