Education Specialist in Educational Leadership and Administration

Cultivate Exceptional Learning Through Leadership

Prepare to lead and promote high-quality student achievement on a broad scale by earning an Education Specialist (EdS) degree in Educational Leadership and Administration at GW. The program is ideal for those with a master’s in education that want to further their professional skills in facilitating positive change, creating and sustaining a culture of shared leadership and collaboration, and promoting the success and well-being of all school members.

The program serves educators working in a variety of diverse school communities and are interested in ensuring equitable outcomes through their aspired or current role as a PreK-12 school-based or central office leader/supervisor position. Whether on the local, state, or national level, the GW-ELA EdS program curriculum will prepare leaders searching for increased responsibility in teaching, and/or advanced levels of professional responsibility.

Learn how a degree in Educational Leadership and Administration can help you become an equity-focused leader and drive positive change in schools >

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Nationally Recognized + Accredited
GW’s ELA program has garnered national recognition as a program of distinction from the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA) and is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).


Experience + Specialized Skills
Develop specialized skills through theory, practice, research, and required high-quality internship opportunities to help make you more competitive in the job market.


Licensure Preparation
Academically prepare for licensure eligibility as an administrator or principal with academic and field experiences designed to meet the academic requirements and eligibility for administrative certification/licensure requirements of D.C. and partner states of the interstate compact agreement.


Accelerated Format
Designed for the working PreK-12 professionals, the EdS is a 30-credit hour terminal degree that can be completed part-time, in our off-campus classrooms or online, in as little as 2 years, generally shorter than most doctoral programs.




The GW Advantage

Whether attending off-campus or online, GSEHD students benefit from our unique location in the heart of our nation’s capital and the University’s extraordinary access to leading national archives and libraries, international organizations, diverse school settings, and research opportunities.

Within its 30+ year history, our research productive faculty, who possess extensive professional practitioner experience, have built a program that has garnered national recognition as a program of distinction from the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA). Our ELA program is accredited by The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Our diverse student body comes together from across the country and around the globe, bringing a wide range of professional experience, skills, and enriching knowledge.





 Program at a Glance


Education Specialist in the Field of Educational Leadership and Administration


Educational Leadership

Course Delivery:

-Alexandria Center
-Hybrid Cohort Options

Program entry:

-Online (Spring, Summer, Fall)
-Off-Campus (Fall)


Our Mission

The Educational Leadership and Administration Program at the George Washington University develops thoughtful and reflective educational leaders prepared to critically use evidence and to use appropriate judgment in making decisions that promote excellence through equity and social justice in meeting the needs of all students. Leaders are prepared to engage with a variety of stakeholders in schools and communities to improve student learning.

Through internships, team-based projects, and individual assignments, students gain hands-on, relevant experiences in schools and diverse opportunities to reflect and think critically about those experiences as they connect research and theory to practice.

Students learn from faculty who are engaged in both research and practice in the field of educational leadership, and value our commitment to student learning and development and the rigorous expectations that promote them. Our program values our partnerships with school organizations and educational institutions, both locally and around the globe, as well as a network of alumni with whom we continue to partner and support.


The following requirements must be successfully fulfilled: 30 credits in required courses and all required internship hours and criteria.

The ELA courses below, unless designated by a *, are 8-week courses. This format allows two instructional sessions within a 16-week semester/term and has been found to at most times, provide an option to students who desire an accelerated time to completion. (Closed cohorts may experience different session models).

EDUC 6232 Supervision of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment  
EDUC 6234 Foundations of K-12 Educational Leadership  
EDUC 6236 School Law and Policy  
EDUC 6238 Leadership for Equity and Social Justice  
EDUC 6240 Instructional Leadership for School Improvement  
EDUC 6244 School, Family, and Community Engagement  
EDUC 6246 School Finance and Resource Management for School Leaders  
EDUC 6270 Education Policy for School Leaders  
EDUC 6272* Leading Evidence-Based Action Research for School Improvement  
EDUC 6287* Internship: Administration  
Program Outcomes
Your successful completion of the GW Education Specialist degree will exemplify your commitment to equity-centered leadership. The coursework and experiences will have moved you along the path in mastery in the disposition/s, knowledge and instructional practices, research and best-practices identified as needed in leading through equity. As an aspiring leader, you will have been prepared for:
  • Ability to make data-informed decisions
  • Leadership for Instruction and School Improvement
  • Shared Leadership Practices
  • Fostering an Inclusive School Community and Cultures
The Education Specialist in Educational Leadership and Administration program includes courses and internship experiences designed to meet the academic requirements for administrative certification/licensure in the District of Columbia (D.C.). Though our alumni have successfully applied and met the requirements for certification/licensure in D.C., many have also met the requirements for other interstate compact agreement partner states, such as Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. In the event that alumni plan to practice outside of D.C., the location of our university’s campus, please consult with the local licensing board in the state any plan to practice may be envisioned to establish the requirements. For your convenience, GW provides you with general professional licensure disclosure and State / local board contact details to begin/conclude your state specific research.
Cohort Options

Charles County Cohort: Convenient and flexible classes offered in a hybrid model for the Master's and Post-Master’s Certificate in Charles County with some classes held online and some held on-site at a CCPS school.

DC Public School Cohort: Convenient and flexible classes offered in a hybrid model for the Master's and Education Specialist degrees.

Loudoun County Cohort: Convenient and flexible classes offered in a hybrid model for the Post-Master’s Certificate, Master's and Education Specialist degrees in Loudoun County, with most classes held on-site at an LCPS Building and some held online.

Please note: Cohort admissions is limited to employees of the specific cohort’s division.



Additional ELA Programs Offered


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Master's Degree

Prepare to meet today's educational challenges and build on your leadership skills with a focus on meeting the needs of diverse educational communities. Acquire critical skills in management, supervision of instruction, and related principles through coursework, observation, and internships.

Explore the Master's Degree >

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Post-Master's Certificate

Should you wish to pursue the Post-Master's Certificate prior to the Education Specialist (EdS) degree, you may have the opportunity to combine the successfully completed certificate credit hours with four additional courses to earn the EdS degree, if all additional requirements are met.

Explore the Certificate >

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Doctor of Education (EdD)

If you currently hold a master's degree (in ELA or other focus area), you may be eligible to pursue the Doctor of Education in ELA. Graduates will have the capability to facilitate change to ensure achievement of all students through thoughtful and deliberate connections between research and practice.

Explore the EdD >



 Apply Now

GSEHD’s Office of Admissions invites you to apply for a spot in our program. Please review the following admission and financial information.

Ready to take the next step in your career? Review our step-by-step guide to applying to GSEHD >

To learn more about the program, admission process, and upcoming events, please connect with the GSEHD Admissions Team at or 202-994-9283.

Apply Now  Schedule Consultation with Admissions Counselor 

To be considered for admission, applicants must submit the online application form as well as the following required supporting documents. There is no application fee.

  • Prerequisite: Master's Degree, One Year Teaching Experience

  • Resume
  • Transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities
  • Statement of Purpose (500-750 word essay): Please address the following statements in an essay (please avoid using bullets and numbers in responding, but demonstrate your writing skills in a coherent essay):
    • Rationale for seeking an Education Specialist degree in the field of Educational Administration and Administration at GW;
    • Current knowledge, skills, and leadership experiences that contribute to your readiness to assume an administrative role as an equity-centered leader;
    • Vision for serving as a leader who advocates and promotes equity, diversity, inclusion, and transformative practices in your school and communities.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation (at least 1 from a current administrator preferred)
  • Interview may be required

*Additional application requirements may exist for international applicants.

View more details about requirements 

We are accepting applications on a rolling basis. We encourage you to apply as early as possible.

Please note: Cohort applications may carry alternate deadlines to those reflected below. Contact for more information.

Application Timeline Spring Summer Fall
Fully Completed App Deadline Nov 15 April 1 Aug 1



 Tuition & Financial Aid

We know embarking upon graduate school is a big decision - due in part to the costs of attending. At GW, we understand the time and thought behind making graduate school work for you. Please take a moment to learn more about the options and opportunities available to help fund your graduate education.

Learn more about scholarships, grants & financial aid   

Graduate tuition is charged per credit hour, unless otherwise noted. This program requires 30 credits.

Rates vary by program and designated location of admission. Current tuition rates may be updated during the year.

 The tuition rate* for the off-campus EdS in ELA program is $970 per credit hour.

 The tuition rate* for the online EdS in ELA program is $1,000 per credit hour.

Please note: Additional fees may apply for international students, late fees, etc.

*Summer 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

View the current fee chart    

Scholarships are available to eligible admitted students. Please review eligibility requirements on our Funding Your Education page.



Laura McCarty headshot
quotation mark

I specifically sought out a program that provided leadership opportunities with a focus on equity in the education field. These opportunities, paired with my legal background and practical experience in the classroom, prepared me for the next step in my career in education policy and reform. The faculty provided a supportive and engaging experience and unique learning opportunities that were individualized to my interests, allowing me to fully embrace my ability to lead and take risks that propelled me to the next phase of my career.

Specialist with D.C. Public Schools
EdS in Educational Leadership Administration



 Career Outlook

Graduates are ready to be PreK-12 leaders who understand curriculum design, instructional excellence, motivation and support of classroom professionals, the broader community, and the needs of diverse learning communities.

This program may also prepare qualified candidates for administrator/principal licensure, and has been designed to meet the administrative certification requirements of the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and other interstate compact agreement partner states.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Services, elementary, middle and high school principals earned a median $98,420 annual salary in 2021, with jobs in the field expected to grow 5% by 2031.1 Postsecondary education administrators earned a median $96,910 in 2021, with jobs expected to grow 7% by 2031.2

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals, at (visited October 31, 2022).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Postsecondary Education Administrators, at (visited October 31, 2022).

ELA Career Opportunities
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Our graduates are leading in schools and districts across the nation. They serve as:

  • Principal
  • Assistant Principal
  • Athletic Director
  • Central Office Administrator
  • PreK-12 Dean
  • Department Chair
  • Director of Admissions
  • Education Advisor
  • Education Consultant
  • Program Director
Potential Employment Settings
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  • Consulting organizations
  • Government departments and agencies
  • Higher education institutions
  • PreK-12 public, private or charter schools



Educational Leadership and Administration (EdS) Faculty

Dr. Jennifer Clayton

Interim Director of Accreditation; Professor, Educational Administration

(202) 994-0757
Dr. Kimberly Jamison

Assistant Professor and Co-Program Director, Educational Leadership and Administration

(202) 994-1828
Dr. Christine Nganga

Associate Professor, Educational Administration

(202) 994-0957
Dr. Kelly Sherrill Linkous

Assistant Professor, Educational Administration

Dr. Matthew Shirrell

Associate Professor, Educational Leadership and Administration

(202) 994-4515
Dr. Abe Tekleselassie

Professor, Educational Administration

(202) 994-0132
Dr. Rebecca Thessin

Associate Professor, Educational Administration

(202) 994-1342
Dr. Leslie Trimmer

Assistant Professor of Practice, Educational Administration

(703) 299-0198



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