Educational Specialist’s Degree in Educational Leadership (Instructional Leadership) for K-12 Administrators

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Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others."~ John Maxwell

Leadership Training at the University of South Alabama

Candidates must meet full admission to the Instructional Leadership programs listed below before enrolling in any instructional leadership courses in the program.

The Educational Leadership or School Leadership specialist’s degree is designed for students who already have class “A” professional certification in educational administration.  Successful completion of the program may qualify the candidate for the Class “AA” Professional Instructional Support Personnel Certificate as an Instructional Leader. 

Course of Study

Educational Leadership Ed.S. Admission Requirements 

The Educational Leadership or School Leadership specialist’s degree is designed for students who already have class “A” professional certification in educational administration. Successful completion of the program may qualify the candidate for the Class “AA” Professional Instructional Support Personnel Certificate as an Instructional Leader.

The deadline for submission of all EdS application materials to USA Office of Admissions is March 15th.

All applications for Class A Instructional Leadership Certification (M.Ed.), Class A Instructional Leadership Certification (without an additional Master’s Degree), and Class AA instructional Leadership Certification (Ed.S.) must be reviewed by the Alabama State Department of Education prior to students being officially accepted into these programs. Applications that are incomplete or lack any required documentation by these deadlines cannot be considered for admission to the above Instructional Leadership programs for the upcoming semester. Please note, admission may also be delayed if supporting documents such as the portfolio, transcripts, GRE/MAT scores etc., are sent anywhere on campus other than admissions.

All candidates must: 

  • Hold a Class A Professional Educator Certificate in Instructional Leadership or one of the other Class A leadership certificate designations [Instructional Leader, Principal, Superintendent, Superintendent-Principal, Educational Administrator, Supervisor (any subject and/or grade level), Administrator of Career and Technical Education].
  • Be able to pass an interview conducted by a program admission committee that includes both P-12 instructional leaders and instructional leadership faculty. (Questions in the interview should reflect a higher level of knowledge and ability than those used as part of the admission process for the Class A Instructional Leader program.)
  • Hold a Master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Undergo a criminal background check.

All candidates must meet one of the following criteria: 

  • Current service as a superintendent, assistant or associate superintendent, assistant to the superintendent, principal, assistant principal, supervisor (any subject and/or grade level), administrator of career and technical education, coordinator, or evaluator.
  • Three years of documented employment in an instructional leadership position for which one of the certificates in Rule 290-3-3-.53.01(2)(b) is proper certification according to the current edition of the Subject and Personnel Codes of the Alabama State Department of Education.
  • Be able to demonstrate each of the abilities in the Class A Instructional Leadership standards prior to admission to the Class AA Instructional Leadership program or prior to completion of the Class AA Instructional Leadership program.

Applying for Admission to the Educational Leadership Program

There are three steps when applying for admission.

1. The first step involves the electronic submission of relevant information. To process your electronic file, go to https://applynow.southalabama.edu/Datatel.erecruiting.Web.External/Pages/Welcome.aspx and create an account. Once you create your account you will be able to submit your application. 

2. The second step in the admission application process is the submission the following admission materials:

  • A two to three page narrative, typed and double-spaced, stating the applicant's reasons for pursuing an Educational Specialist Degree.
  • A resume with chronology of professional employment.
  • Three letters of recommendation. Download the "Recommendation Form for Graduate Admission to the Educational Leadership Program," complete the "Applicant Information" section, and send it to three references, including your principal or supervisor, along with a stamped envelope addressed to USA Admission (see address below).

Admission materials should be submitted to the following address:

The University of South Alabama
The Office of Admissions
Meisler Hall, Room 2500
Mobile, AL 36688

3. The third step is requesting official results of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) be sent directly to admissions (see address above) from Educational Testing Services (http://www.ets.org/gre). The USA College Code for the GRE is 1880. Scores should include the analytical writing section.

*All applicants must be unconditionally admitted prior to enrollment in any leadership courses and also undergo a criminal background check.

Requirements for Certification

Readiness to serve as a Class AA Instructional Leader shall include:

  1. An official transcript from a regionally accredited institution documenting a minimum of 30 semester hours of post-master’s degree work at the sixth-year level or above.
  2. Satisfactory completion of a State-approved program with a minimum GPA of 3.25 on all courses in the Alabama State Board of Education approved Class AA Instructional Leadership program.
  3. Competence to serve as a Class AA Instructional Leader as partially demonstrated through completion of mentor training.
  4. Competence to serve as a Class AA Instructional Leader as partially demonstrated through completion of a problem analysis project.
  5. A passing score on a comprehensive assessment documenting mastery of the Class AA Instructional Leader program curriculum. The assessment may include but may not be limited to an oral examination.
  6. Testing for Class AA Certification for Instructional Leadership. Applicants for Class AA certification who are meeting requirements for a certificate that covers a grade span different from the grade span covered by the certificate used as the basis for admission to the Class AA Instructional Leadership program must meet the Praxis II requirements of the Alabama Prospective Teacher Testing Program (APTTP). Some individuals hold an Alabama certificate for principal 1-6 or 7-12 rather than P-12. A person holding one of those certificates and completing the Class AA Instructional Leadership P-12 program must meet the Praxis II requirements as a precondition for certification. Additional information is provided in Rule 290-3-3-.01(3).

Questions may be directed to Dr. Ronald A. Styron, Jr., Program Coordinator, at (251) 380-2601 or rastyron@southalabama.edu.