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Stand Out in Your Field


Our Educational Specialist (EdS) Director of Special Education Licensure

Effective school administrators can make a tremendous difference in the lives of others. The University of St. Thomas Administrative Licensure program is committed to providing you with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to thrive in an increasingly challenging environment for educational leaders. With a focus on social justice, our program is guided by current practitioners in the field, as well as award-winning educators and leaders.

Our administrative licensure programs are here to help you meet the demands of educational leadership. Hear from one of our expert faculty about leading during a pandemic. The School of Education also co-founded the Minnesota Institute for Trauma-Informed Education (MITIE) to develop, support, and advance the field of trauma-informed and trauma-engaged education. The institute seeks to provide an arena for scholars, practitioners, and researchers to convene and learn about the latest practices in trauma-informed education.

This program is designed for individuals with a master's degree in educational leadership looking to fulfill required competencies for a Director of Special Education licensure. An initial tier 3 teaching license is required to enroll in this program. See the Education Specialist and Administrative Licensures flyer for more information.

Where you'll learn:

Cohort model with one eight-week HyFlex course (classes in person and Zoom) on Wednesday evenings. It is the student's choice to attend online or in person.

When to start:

Fall semester

Alumni Testimonials

photo of niceta thomas headshot of Austin Hochstetler

Niceta L. Thomas

My experience in the EdS program at St. Thomas was very rich and rewarding. The one-on-one attention I received from faculty and staff was just what I needed to succeed in the program. Being one of a few black women leaders in special education, St. Thomas prepared me to be open-minded and resilient in a field that is over-represented by students of color. I highly recommend this program to others who are trying to break barriers in the field of special education.

Current Position: Director of Student Services, Roseville Area Schools

Austin Hochstetler

My time in the EdS program helped me to think creatively, explore leadership, and apply what I learned through the yearlong internship. The cohort model allowed me to create relationships and connections that have had an immediate impact on my professional career. I would highly recommend the program as it will prepare you for leadership opportunities, challenge your critical thinking, and help to understand what students need in today’s education system.

Current position: Special Education Facilitator, Edina Public Schools


Close-up of Dr. Jean Pierre Bongila

Dr. Jean Pierre Bongila

Dr. Jean-Pierre Bongila, Ed.D, is the founding and current director of the Global Leadership Program (MA, Certificate & Doctorate concentration) at the University of St. Thomas within the department of Educational Leadership, which he joined in 2006.

Dr. Jean Pierre Bongila
Headshot of Alecia Mobley

Dr. Alecia Mobley

Dr. Alecia Mobley is the Director of Special Education for Richfield Public Schools. She has been in district-level leadership for the past eight years and is an expert in designing programs to effectively serve and support students who have typically been underserved by educational systems.

Headshot of Dr. Aura Wharton-Beck

Dr. Aura Wharton-Beck

’99 EdS, ’15 EdD

Dr. Wharton-Beck began her career as a teacher for hearing impaired students in the Chicago Public Schools. Her leadership positions include mentoring and coaching teachers, serving as an adjunct faculty in higher education and as an elementary school principal.

Dr. Aura Wharton-Beck