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Education Specialist (EdS) in Educational Leadership

Prepare for district-level leadership

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 Educational Leadership 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.

William Woods is the largest certifier of school leaders in Missouri

606 # of our graduates who are now principals and assistant principals
157 # of our graduates who are now school district administrators
90 # of our graduates who are now school superintendents


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


Students enrolled in the Education Specialist (EdS) in Educational Leadership or Master of Education (MEd) in Educational Leadership programs may be recommended by William Woods University for Missouri state-level K-12 School Leader (Principal) Certification beginning Fall, 2020!

View the K-12 School Leader Certification Requirements for more information!


  • Completed application
  • 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

Cohorts available across Missouri William Woods advanced education programs bring evening classrooms to educators in districts where there is interest. Historically, cohorts were available in districts in Fulton, Columbia, Jefferson City, St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Cape Girardeau and many more locations.

Our graduate education programs are available online and are ranked among the best online programs in Missouri by US News and World Report.

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.

Admissions Information

Learn more about graduate admissions requirements, deadlines, tuition and financial aid available to you.

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