EdSp in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis with Emphasis in PK-12 Educational Leadership and Administration, Executive Superintendency, Certification

The Educational Specialist Degree in Executive Superintendency is designed to meet the state demand for knowledgeable, effective, and progressive superintendents for public and private PK-12 school districts. The program of study is tailored for current building-level administrators with state principal certification. The four-semester cohort program will provide a set of learning experiences aligned with the current Missouri Leadership Standards. The fully online program caters to the busy nature of working principals and assistant principals. During the program, students will complete an internship in district-level administration under the guidance of experienced superintendents and assistant superintendents. The internship will involve activities in their districts that connect course-based learning to actual management and implementation of programs in an authentic setting. Course work will prepare students for the state-required certification examination, Missouri Educator Gateway Assessment (MEGA), and subsequent Missouri superintendent certification. The Missouri superintendent certificate is transferable to some Midwest states. 

This 4-semester cohort-based emphasis in Executive Superintendency is offered in collaboration with UMKC and UMSL. Students may apply for admission to the EdS program at any of the three participating institutions. Students will be enrolled in courses offered by faculty across the partner institutions, taking three courses (9 credit hours) at each and completing their internship hours (3 credit hours) through their home institution for a minimum of 30 credit hours. Courses taken at a partner institution will be transcripted as the companion course at the home institution (e.g, for a UMKC student taking ED_LPA 9424 through MU, it will show up on the transcript as the equivalent UMKC course of EDUL 5523). The degree requirements section below indicates the nine required courses in the emphasis (excluding the internship requirements detailed further down), using the MU-based course information. The Sample Plan of Study indicates the courses taken at each partner institution, using that institution’s course information.

Degree Requirements

ED_LPA 8419Superintendent: Structures and Processes for Effective Schools3
ED_LPA 8423Advanced Leadership for Learning Environments3
ED_LPA 8424Education Politics and Policymaking3
ED_LPA 9416Theories in District-Level Administration3
ED_LPA 9420Superintendent: Fiscal Leadership and Management3
ED_LPA 9424Superintendent: Instructional Leadership3
ED_LPA 9429Superintendent: Communication, Team Leadership3
ED_LPA 9435Superintendent: Legal Leadership and Management3
ED_LPA 9436School Personnel Administration3

Internship Requirement

Students may become eligible for central office/superintendent certification by completing the internship experience required by ELPA for graduation and recommendation to MO DESE for central office/superintendent certification. This is gained over three semesters and 3 credit hours of coursework total (see sample plan of study for more information) but the course will be taken in the spring semester. To be eligible for central office/superintendent certification, 300 internship hours must be completed. Specific activities and expectations are provided to students by their internship advisor.

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Sample Plan of Study

Summer 1 (9 credit hours)

  • EDUL 5626 Theories in Educational Administration (UMKC)
  • EDUL 5628 The Superintendency (UMKC)
  • ED ADM 6403 Public School Relations UMSL)

Fall 1 (6 credit hours)

  • ED ADM 6402 School Personnel Administration (UMSL)
  • ED ADM 6301 Education Policy Analysis (UMSL)

Spring 1 (9 credit hours)

  • ED_LPA 9424 Superintendent: Instructional Leadership (MU)
  • EDUL 5627 Advanced Educational Supervision (UMKC)
  • Internship* (at home campus)

Summer 2 (6 credit hours)

  • ED_LPA 9435 Superintendent: Legal Leadership and Management (MU)
  • ED_LPA 9420 Superintendent: Fiscal Leadership and Management (MU)

* Students must take a total of 3 credit hours from their home institution:

  • ED ADM 6903 Superintendent Field Experience (UMSL)
  • ED_LPA 9481 Internship in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (MU)
  • EDUL 5575 Internship in Educational Administration (UMKC)

Qualifying Process

Contact department for more information.

Comprehensive Examination Process

Upon completion of coursework, and during the semester of graduation, all students must take and pass a capstone project. This required Action Research Capstone will be designed for applied research with substantial value for informing educational practice and the student’s school community.


Prospective students are required to submit official transcripts and Missouri principal certification for the application process. The expected Graduate grade point average will be a 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. Students must hold a valid principal certificate. The executive superintendency program is limited in space; preference will be given to individuals currently serving in a role requiring principal certification (e.g., principal or assistant principal). Individuals currently serving in a non-certificated administrative role (e.g., instructional coach or dean of students) will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Any candidate for admission to the program must demonstrate a strong potential: (a) for academic accomplishments in the program, (b) for success as an educational leader practitioner, and (c) as a contributor to the collaborative work of the cohort. All applicants will need to submit three (3) recommendations, including: one (1) from an educator presently occupying a position equal or similar to that which the applicant aspires upon completing the EdS; one (1) from a university professor with direct knowledge of the applicant's graduate degree work; and, one (1) from someone other than a member of the applicant's family who can comment on the applicant's character. Finally, all students must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School.

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