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Principal Preparation Program

*Ed.S. in Educational Leadership

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PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Principal Preparation Program awards either of two degrees: a master of arts in education (M.A.Ed.) or post-master’s Educational Specialist designation (Ed.S.). Designed to fit the needs of working educational professionals, the program is conducted on a part- or full-time basis, with coursework that balances modern academic theory with real-life practice. 

Since 1989, the Virginia Tech Principal Preparation Program has prepared school leaders to meet the challenges of contemporary PK-12 school leadership. Our Principal Preparation graduates leave with the skills they need to lead ethically, work confidently with diverse populations, advance equity and social justice in educational settings, and lead innovative programs to improve the learning and well-being of PK-12 students. Many alumni have gone on to serve as assistant principals, principals, or central office administrators, or to pursue doctoral study. 

The M.A.Ed. is intended for experienced educators who have not yet earned a master’s degree, while the Ed.S. is intended for experienced educators who have already earned a master’s in an education-related discipline. M.A.Ed. and Ed.S. students complete all the same coursework, however, Ed.S. students graduate with more credits than their M.A.Ed. counterparts, because some of their previous graduate credits transfer over to the Ed.S. In this respect, the Ed.S. may be thought of as an extension of one’s earlier master’s degree.

Both of the M.A.Ed. and Ed.S. degree tracks prepare students to meet the requirements of Virginia's School Leadership Licensure Assessment (SLLA). After graduating, students must pass the SLLA to receive licensure as a Virginia school leader.

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WHAT YOU'LL STUDY

The Principal Preparation curriculum meets the standards of the national Professional Standards for Educational Leadership and the Virginia Department of Educational Principal Performance standards.

Students complete 30 hours of coursework on a part-time basis, over a period of approximately four semesters. Generally, students attend two classes, totaling 6 credit hours, per semester. Most courses are conducted in the evening to fit the schedules of full-time educators.  The curriculum addresses four major areas over the nine course sequence.

Leadership

  • Curriculum Leadership in PK-12 Education
  • Instructional Leadership in PK-12 Education
  • Leadership and Change in PK-12 Education

School Administration

  • School Law
  • Public School Finance
  • School Personnel Administration and Instructional Supervision
  • Administration of Special-Needs Programs

Educational Research

  • Research, Assessment, and Evaluation for PK-12 Leaders

Applied Practice

  • Internship (6 credit hours)

INTERNSHIP COMPONENT

The program's 30 hours of coursework, including 6 credits of internship, focuses on building-level school leadership and on division-level, agency, or special school leadership. Students conduct the internship on-site at a local educational institution, under the mentorship of a practicing principal or supervisor. To successfully complete the internship, students must demonstrate competency in a range of standards-based skills.

The internship consists of 36 specific objectives which are congruous with the work of school principals. It is intended to immerse aspiring school leaders in the actual work of principals so they will be ready to successfully assume a leadership role upon completion of the internship. Interns work directly with a mentor who could be their home-school principal, or another affiliated principal and/or division-level administrator, as well as their supervisor from Virginia Tech to complete specified objectives required by the Principal Preparation program.

Course Descriptions

Administration and supervision of human resources and instructional programs in schools. Content encompasses human resources planning, recruitment,selection, assignment, induction, supervision and appraisal, development, compensation and benefits, employee relations, and other topics of current interest.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Federal and state laws governing public education and the legal responsibilities and powers of various state and local governing bodies and individuals. Emphasis given case law, federal and state, affecting such topics as rights of teachers, rights of students, due process, liability, and equal protection.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture, Online Lecture

Basic policies, principles, and practices involved in solution of problems of public school finance. Meets Virginia certification requirements for the principalship. 1 Year or more of teaching experience required.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Basic provisions of federal/state laws, policies, and regulations pertaining to special education, vocational education, and other special-needs client groups of the public schools.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Leadership and change theories that impact school improvement efforts; skills, and dispositions needed to change organizational culture; globalization and diversity relative to implementing change in educational leadership in the 21st century. Pre: Graduate standing.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture, Online Lecture

Examination of curriculum through theory, practice, social forces, politics, diversity, and economics; analysis of contemporary P-12 school curriculum and reflection about the values, beliefs, and assumptions informing curriculum leadership; long-range planning and curriculum assessment. Pre: Graduate standing.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture, Online Lecture

Leadership in instructional practices in P-12 education; effective classroom instructional strategies; classroom observation and assessment models; models of including diversity and technology in instructional practices; leading instructional professional development to increase student learning evaluating pedagogy. Pre: Graduate standing.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture, Online Lecture

Prepares K-12 educational leaders to use research and assessment data to make appropriate data-driven decisions at classroom, school, and division levels; analysis of data both generated in the school and state- or agency- controlled; best-practices in school improvement. Pre: Graduate standing.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture, Online Lecture

Student participation in a planned clinical experience under the supervision of a university staff member in an appropriate work center. (Maximum 12C). Consent required.

Credit Hour(s): 1 TO 12

Lecture Hour(s): 1 TO 12

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FACULTY

Jodie L. Brinkmann, Assistant Professor of Practice and the Program Leader, smiles broadly at the camera. She wears a formal black dress with a pearl necklace
Jodie L. Brinkmann, Assistant Professor of Practice and Program Leader
David Alexander leans causally on a balustrade
M. David Alexander, Professor
Dr. Cash poses formally with a beautiful smile, wearing a green blouse, a pearl necklace. Her brown hair is short and nicely styled
Carol Cash, Professor of Practice
John Gratto, Clinical Associate Professor
John Gratto, Clinical Associate Professor
Carol Mullen, Professor
Carol Mullen, Professor
Dr. Price smiles for the camera, relaxed and happy, wearing a blue plaid shirt which is open over a t shirt. He is poised and confident
Ted S. Price, Visiting Assistant Professor

THE COHORT MODEL

The program operates on a cohort model. Members of a given cohort, M.A.Ed. and Ed.S. students alike, attend all of the same classes in the same sequence and pursue common plans of study.

The benefits of a cohort model are many. The cohort model is designed to facilitate social interaction, collaboration, and the formation of a supportive learning community.

Students in cohorts learn from and help each other with the successful completion of coursework and professional networking. Students who participate in cohort models generally report a strong sense of belonging and are more likely to complete their programs of study in a timely manner.