To operate as a leader at the school district level, you must be adept at educational policies, management, finance, facilities, human resources, assessment, law and other advanced skills. The William Woods University Education Specialist in Administration degree is designed to develop these skills and prepare you to be recommended for certification for superintendency, provided all other DESE requirements are met. Through an extensive field experience, you will broaden your understanding of how a school district operates and be prepared to take your place in its leadership.
At William Woods, you’ll be participating in an Education graduate program known for its excellence and for providing a significant number of the leaders in Missouri’s state school system. Our Education graduate students are well-prepared and continue to score well on state administrative certification tests. As one of these students, you will have the opportunity to learn from active practitioners in the field and make the connections you need for leadership and career growth.
This Education specialist degree is designed to fit the schedules of working pk-12 teachers and administrators and can be completed in two years or less through evening courses taught in convenient locations around the state. You can expect rigorous coursework with real-world relevance, designed and taught by professionals who have proven their expertise. We structure the schedule so as to keep students together, allowing you to develop lasting relationships with peers focused on similar career goals. And, to make this an investment you can count on, your tuition will not go up as long as you stay continuously enrolled.
Your education specialist degree at work
This advanced degree not only opens doors at the leadership level in school buildings; but, it also creates opportunities to expand your marketability to school district level leadership positions. Successful completion of the program along with a qualifying score on the DESE assessments enable you to apply for a superintendent’s certificate within the state of Missouri.
You will earn the degree by completing 10 courses plus one three-credit Capstone Course and 300 hours of field experience. You will also create a portfolio demonstrating your proficiency on each of the Missouri Superintendent Standards/ISLLC Standards, among other requirements.
Courses you may take
Issues in School Superintendency
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the major technical and educational leadership functions of the superintendency. This course introduces foundational theory and practice of leadership skills, tasks, responsibilities and challenges as they are applied to school superintendents and central office administrators. Historical perspectives, issues and problems facing the superintendent will also be examined. Organizational culture, the dynamics and politics of the superintendency and Board of Education relationships, plus other impacting elements (legal issues, fiscal responsibilities, and governance) will be studied. Leadership in today’s schools is not learned in isolation. This course assumes that learning is a social process and will attempt to use this social process as the students learn about the superintendency.
Utilizing Statistical Procedures in Educational Research & Evaluation
This course will provide the educational practitioner with the knowledge, skills and techniques necessary to effectively collect, interpret and utilize data to drive the school improvement process. The course will include a discussion of basic statistical concepts as well as the procedures and skills necessary for the critical review of educational research. Finally, the course will address specific assessment and research data relevant to Missouri schools and provide the student the opportunity to implement knowledge and skills through case based practice. This course is not designed to make the student a statistician or to provide the background necessary to design and compile the statistics for a scholarly research proposal. It is designed with the practitioner in mind to give the student an overview of statistical processes as used in research.
Effective School-Community Relations
This course is organized to provide practical, research-based information and skills development to help prepare administrators with skill in the area of public relations. It will focus on both internal communications with staffing, as well as interrelationships of educators with students, parents, media, and others in the community. The course will provide a solid conceptual base for the development of an effective school public relations program and the development of effective written/oral communications. In addition, various media modes will be explored, with social media(s) and their impact upon the school and community. Emphasis on the benefit of taking proactive responsibilities that are needed to build and maintain effective relationships within an organization and community will also be examined. Efficient and effective crisis management and communicating through the media will also be studied.
Human Resources in Education
This course focuses on the various statutory and procedural issues involved with human resources administration. Human resources planning, recruitment, selection, professional development, and evaluation will be addressed. Motivational issues related to human resources administration and staff retention are also included, as are issues related to both formal and informal negotiations. Finally, legal and ethical issues related to human resources administration are explored.
School District Finance
This course is designed to provide school leaders with a broad understanding of school finance at the local, state, and national levels. The course will investigate various finance topics, detailing how they relate to local practice. Specific finance practices such as fund accounting, funds management, program management, taxes and tax rates, revenues and expenditures, and financial legal requirements will be examined. Budgeting and budget management including revenue and expenditure projections will be a primary focus. Additional topics will include operational management, economic impacts, and influence of legislative mandates. Upon completion of this course, the student will have an understanding of the major finance concepts that influence responsible public school fiscal management.
School Plant & Facilities Development/Safety & Security
This course will incorporate planning, design, construction, management, safety, and maintenance involved in the innovative delivery of instruction as well as ongoing daily operations of district buildings and grounds. It will incorporate activities related to selecting architects, designing buildings for innovative instruction, enhancement of learning ,construction and performance contracting, monitoring and tracking of maintenance, furnishing and equipping facilities, cleaning operations, and developing safe and secure buildings and grounds.
1 (x 3)
The student in EDU657 will be provided with the opportunity to practice the attitudes, skills, and behaviors necessary to provide positive and effective Superintendency at the school district and central office level. The student will earn a total of three (3) credit hours during the clinical experience, and will be required to participate in three hundred (300) hours of field experience related to the Superintendency. In collaboration with the University supervisor and a superintendent/certified central office administrator acting as the on-site supervisor, the student will select activities from the required and discretional lists. The student will complete activities involving concepts of educational administration, management of school operations and services, personnel management, instructional programs and assessment, pupil personnel administration, and school—community relations as they align with the Missouri Superintendent Standards of effective Superintendency practice in education.
Educational Reform and Urban Educational Issues
This course will help developing district leaders understand, facilitate and be proactive to the rapidly expanding scope of changes that are taking place in schooling and education. Basic principles of change, diffusion of innovations and research findings with case studies will be examined. Systemic change and leadership during times of change will be emphasized as well. School district leaders will study how the achievement gap, poverty and other urban educational issues impact student improvement, community perception and school reform. The course will also examine how social dynamics, cultural differences, pedagogy, physical/social environments and student resiliency play a part in making achievement gaps a lingering issue for educators.
Advanced School Law and Policy Development
The course has been created to provide advanced and complex information, perspective and knowledge to educational administrators (including experienced principals and aspiring superintendents of schools) with necessary legal and administrative knowledge that will enable them to effectively conduct school business within legal frames. In addition, they will be able to operate school organizations and related environments within the constraints of state and federal law; including constitutional, statutory, administrative, civil, criminal, juvenile, and interpretive case law. Also, an understanding the policy and political frameworks of their district, state, and federal environment.
Differentiated & Supplemental Program
This course is designed to offer prospective school leaders an introductory and survey course in the study of the myriad of differentiated and supplemental state and federal programs. The history, purpose, procedures, requirements and financial implications of selected programs will be examined that are common responsibility areas for school district leaders.
These programs are dynamic in nature and often reflect revisions and mandates annually as per the state and federal offices of education. Consequently, the course will be updated as changes evolve in the various programs studied. Additionally, the course facilitator may provide updated information regarding programs listed and/or new programs initiated.
Course content focuses on state and federal educational programs dating back to the historic 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Title I programming within this act has become the largest source of federal aid to elementary and secondary schools. The course also includes the most recent state supplemental programs from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
Emphasis is placed on collaboration among class participants. A major dependence, with respect to accessing differentiated and supplemental program documents, administrative manuals, and other salient information, will be placed on the use of internet sites, and the ability to download (often in PDF formats) from the web. Upon completion of this course, students should possess knowledge sufficient to assist in the effective administration of state and federal differentiated and supplemental programs.
School Portfolio Development & Field Experience
This course is designed to provide the student with the opportunity to practice those attitudes, skills, and behaviors necessary to provide positive and effective leadership at the school district and central office level.
The student will select, perform, and complete activities involving concepts of educational administration, management of school operations and services, personnel management, instructional programs, professional development, and assessment, pupil personnel administration, and school community relations as they align with the Missouri Superintendent Standards of effective leadership practice in education. Other Program of Education Standard bodies might also be required to make alignment to the student’s work. The course will also assist the student in preparing for the certification examination, the Superintendent’s Assessment, required in Missouri to be a certified Superintendent.
Complete the student achievement (pdf) document outlining your accomplishments as they relate to student achievement and signed by you and your direct supervisor.
Copy of teaching certificate
All official transcripts (3.0 GPA or higher) mailed from the college/university you graduated from
Cohorts available across Missouri
William Woods advanced education programs bring evening classrooms to districts and educators where there is interest. Districts in Fulton, Columbia, Jefferson City, St. Louis, Kansas City, Moberly, Springfield, Ozark, Cape Girardeau, Rolla and many more are running cohorts currently or have in the past.
William Woods in the real world
Many of our graduates hold leadership positions in Missouri’s schools. All of them are great teachers.
What separates William Woods University is the quality of our instructors. They're successful school leaders from around the state, actually out there doing what we're teaching others to do.
— James C. Head, Director of Administrative Field Experience
One more thing
A high percentage of our students have impressive day jobs. They’re building level administrators, central office administrators, superintendents, special education directors, curriculum directors, instructional coaches, and professional development coordinators. As a student in our program, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from practitioners like these and form connections that later may lead to job opportunities.
Learn more about graduate admissions requirements, deadlines, tuition and financial aid available to you.