Master of Arts in Educational Leadership Program Requirements

The Masters in Educational Leadership is a 36-credit, field-based program in which candidates earn an MA in Education as well as school principal licensure.

The program combines convenient on-line coursework, exceptional readings, and face-to-face residencies rich with dialogues about transformative leadership. In addition, candidates conduct a closely supervised, two-year project to effect change in their school. The goal is to become exceptional principals who will work in concert with their school's faculty to create schools that allow students to realize their potential as citizens in a complex and changing world.

The program's philosophy is based on the notion that respected leaders engage in a constant process of self-examination and transformation. Leaders transform themselves by questioning their assumptions, acquiring skills and knowledge, enriching their understanding, developing their compassion and realizing their dreams. While doing so, they encourage their staff and students to develop their potential. Simultaneously, their schools undergo transformation as they realize and revisit their School Improvement Plans.

Students completing the master's degree in educational leadership will demonstrate their successful realization of the following learning outcomes in their respective leadership settings (statements in bold italics are from the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium Standards):

An education leader promotes the success of every student by facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a vision of learning that is shared and supported by all stakeholders.

  • Collaborative development and implementation of a shared vision and mission;
  • Collection and use of data to identify goals, assess organizational effectiveness, and promote organizational learning;
  • Creation and implementation of plans to achieve goals and promote continuous and sustainable improvement as well as to monitor and evaluate progress and revise plans.

An education leader promotes the success of every student by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth.

  • Nurture and sustain a culture of collaboration, trust, learning, and high expectations;
  • Creation of a comprehensive, rigorous, and coherent curricular program and monitor and evaluate the impact of the instructional program;
  • Creation of a personalized and motivating learning environment for students;
  • Supervision of instruction and development of assessment and accountability systems to monitor student progress;
  • Development of the instructional and leadership capacity of staff to maximize time spent on quality instruction, and to promote the use of the most effective and appropriate technologies in support of teaching and learning.

An education leader promotes the success of every student by ensuring management of the organization, operation, and resources for a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment.

  • Monitoring and evaluation of management and operational systems to obtain, allocate, align, and efficiently utilize human, fiscal, and technological resources;
  • Promotion and protection of the welfare and safety of students and staff through developing capacity for distributed leadership;
  • Direction of teacher and organizational time to focus support on quality instruction and student learning.

An education leader promotes the success of every student by collaborating with faculty and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources.

  • Collection and analysis of data and information pertinent to the educational environment;
  • Promotion of understanding, appreciation, and use of the community's diverse cultural, social, and intellectual resources;
  • Construction of sustained positive and productive relationships with families, caregivers, and community partners.

An education leader promotes the success of every student by acting with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner

  • Establishment of a system of accountability for every student's academic and social success, which considers and evaluates the potential moral and legal consequences of decision-making;
  • Modeling of the principles of self-awareness, reflective practice, transparency, and ethical behavior and safeguard the values of democracy, equity, and diversity;
  • Promotion of social justice and a culture in which individual student needs inform all aspects of schooling.

An education leader promotes the success of every student by understanding, responding to, and influencing the political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context

  • Advocacy for children, families, and caregivers that effectively influences local, district, state, and national decisions affecting student learning;
  • Assessment, analysis, and anticipation of emerging trends and initiatives in order to adapt leadership strategies.
Principal Endorsement

If a teacher is looking to add the principal endorsement to their current license and they already have a Master's degree in Education, they only need to take certain courses in the program that address the endorsement expectations for principal. See the section below titled "Principal Endorsement."

This program is approved for licensure by the Vermont Agency of Education and is framed by both the Core Leadership Standards for Vermont Educators and the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) Standards for School Leaders. In addition, through the Mediated Achievement Plan (see EDU 6815), prospective candidates will be assured of meeting the 300-hour internship required by the state.

For more information, please contact Dr. Ric Reardon, Director of Education, at 802-468-1234 or Richard.reardon@castleton.edu.

Course Requirements

The courses were developed using the Interstate School Leadership Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) Policy Standards (which were originally designed for leadership preparation programs and have now been updated and are used for programs emphasizing effective leadership practice). In addition, the courses were designed considering the Vermont Core Leadership Standards. Finally, the courses are specifically designed to meet the rigorous requirements of the Principal endorsement (5440-91) as set forth by the Vermont Agency of Education.

Code Course Credits

EDU 5510

Transformative School Leadership

In this course, students are introduced to the philosophy of the Castleton Institute for School Leaders and the Mediated Achievement Plan (MAP), a tool based on the notion that respected leaders engage in a constant process of self-examination and transformation. Students will also experience several Critical Friends Group (CFG) protocols designed to help leaders and faculty collectively transform practice. Finally, aspiring leaders will become familiar with the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) Standards for School Leaders, which focus on promoting the success of all students.

EDU 6610

Supervision, Evaluation and Professional Development

This course focuses on developing skills for successful school-wide supervision. Three aspects of work are closely intertwined: supervision, evaluation, and professional development. This dialogue will treat these three facets as inseparable aspects of the learning community. Students will demonstrate understanding of a developmental approach to supervision and professional development. Students will examine supervision strategies for both groups and individuals from different perspectives and for different purposes. Students will distinguish between supervision of teaching and supervision for learning. Students will compile resources to create their own Supervision, Evaluation and Professional Development Toolkit.

EDU 5530

Reculturing the Meaning of Learning in your School

This offering has an unconventional course structure. Castleton University, in collaboration with the Vermont Principals Association, the Vermont Institutes, and several other organizations, has designed a Summer Leadership Academy for experienced and aspiring school leaders. By combining resources, we are able to bring together experienced principals, aspiring leaders, and extraordinary national figures.

EDU 6402

Managing Change: School Law

Spring I

U.S. schools operate within a complex legal framework. In this dialogue, students will be introduced to the basic principles of school law and special education law. Candidates will expand their knowledge of school law and special education law as it pertains to students, teachers, and schools. Students will explore how the legal system functions within schools and school districts and how it is used to protect student and teacher rights and to improve student opportunities.

EDU 5215

Managing the Learning Environments

High performing school leaders collaboratively manage their organization, facilities, and resources in ways that optimize resource allocation and promote a safe, efficient, legal, and effective learning environment. In this course the theories and principles of organizational development will be examined, and candidates will explore and apply practices consistent with collaborative leadership. Aspiring school leaders will then examine operational procedures at the school and district level, as well as principles and issues relating to school safety and security, fiscal operations, and human resources management and development. Finally, candidates will consider issues relating to school facilities and use of space, legal issues impacting school operations, and current technologies that support management functions.

EDU 6403

Managing Change: School Finance

In this course, aspiring principals learn how to create and manage a school budget that supports the school's priorities and students' needs. Candidates will learn how to procure and manage Federal and State grants and complete required state reporting systems including Service Plans, Expenditure Reports, and Medicaid Health Services. Using their School Assessment Profile (SAP), candidates will examine their school and supervisory budgets and make comparisons with similar school districts.

EDU 6022

Establishing a Culture of Care and High Performance for All Students

This course develops an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional programs conducive to student learning and professional growth. The focus is on planning, implementing, and evaluating educational programs that promote student achievement. Students will analyze standards-based curriculum efforts within and among schools utilizing models of universal design, differentiation instruction, and theories and principles of learning. We will also explore the technology, telecommunications, and information systems that enhance curriculum design, instruction, and assessment. Finally, we will develop strategies for post-school outcomes.

EDU 5540

Creating a Vision of an Inclusive School

An educational leader promotes the success of all students by facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a vision of learning that is shared and supported by the school community. This course focuses on inclusive teacher leadership: developing a personal vision, creating and supporting collaborative teams, and designing classroom and school wide support systems for all students. Particular focus is given to the barriers and strategies used to support students who are not experiencing success in school and the role of "special education" and its interface with the "regular" school program.

EDU 5560

Leading With Integrity

Spring II

This course considers questions of right and wrong, good and bad. Given that the life of an educational leader is unpredictable and chaotic, how can leaders consult a reliable moral compass within a wider culture of profound social change and moral uncertainty? The course views educational leaders as people who promote the success of all students by acting with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner. The course presumes that there is a logic to ethical decision-making and that ethical logic can be learned and practiced. We will use a hybrid course model to effectively and efficiently investigate the course content.

EDU 6530

The Larger Context: Community, Policy and Partnerships

This course investigates the relationship between student success in school and collaboration with teachers, families, and community members. It examines leaders' responses to diverse community interests and needs and the mobilizing of community resources. Focus will include diversity, collaboration, and communication with stakeholders, media relationships, and links to state and federal initiatives. Students will demonstrate understanding of community involvement in schools and the role of the larger political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context of the school.

Principal Endorsement

For prospective practitioners interested in adding the principal endorsement to an existing license and who have earned a Master's degree in Education, the following courses would meet the expectations of the Principal Endorsement:

EDU 6610 - Supervision, Evaluation and Professional Development 3 cr

EDU 6402 - Managing Change: School Law 3 cr

EDU 5215 - Managing the Learning Environments 2 cr

EDU 6403 - Managing Change: School Finance 3 cr

EDU 6022 - Establishing a Culture of Care and High Performance for All Students 3 cr

EDU 5560 - Leading With Integrity 3 cr

EDU 6530 - The Larger Context: Community, Policy and Partnerships 2 cr

In addition, those interested in earning the principal endorsement must complete an administrative internship consisting of a minimum of 300 hours of supervised, substantive field experience in two or more types of school settings (see 5150 of the Rules Governing the Licensing of Educators and the Preparation of Educational Professionals for more information).