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Expand Your Role and Impact


Educational Specialist (EdS) Principal Licensure

Our principal licensure at the University of St. Thomas is designed for busy working professionals with a master's degree in educational leadership looking to fulfill required competencies for a K-12 Principal licensure. An initial tier 3 teaching license is required to enroll in this program. Our curriculum is differentiated for public, Catholic and charter school leaders so you are ready to put into service leading practices for the day-to-day needs of YOUR schools. See the Education Specialist and Administrative Licensures flyer for more information.

Education leaders today deal with rapidly changing environments and need to be able to collaborate with others to develop sound policies, listen well to and facilitate diverse points of view and think critically while acting ethically. Through this program, you will develop a strong foundation and understanding of leadership in education. These skills will help you analyze and implement sound administrative policies and create successful strategies for change. With a focus on social justice, our program is guided by current practitioners in the field, as well as award-winning educators and leaders who are here to help you meet the demands of educational leadership during and after the pandemic.

The University of St. Thomas 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.

Where you'll learn

Cohort model with one 8-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

This program allowed me to see the leadership gifts within me and to grow as an educational leader in my school and abroad. The connections I made are leading me to the next right steps in my career. The cohort style offers flexibility and community. The work is meaningful, practical and applicable in real time; and it was enriching to collaborate with professionals in such an engaging way. I highly recommend this program to anyone with an interest in educational leadership.

Karissa Ouren '23 EdS


EdS faculty are experienced practitioners and licensed administrators

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
Dr. Nichole Rens

Dr. Nichole Rens

’02 MA, ’05 EdS, ’17 EdD

During her 24-year education career Dr. Rens has been a director of curriculum and instruction, an elementary principal, curriculum coordinator and high school English teacher. In each role, her focus has been on the students and making sure that every decision is made with them in mind.

Dr. Greg Martin headshot

Dr. Greg Martin

’13 EdS, ’17 EdD

Dr. Greg Martin is the principal of Chaska Middle School East and has taught in the EdS program at St. Thomas since 2015. He has previously served as a high school administrator, middle and high school teacher, and coach in numerous districts across Minnesota. Martin received a certificate in School Management and Leadership from Harvard University in 2021.

Speaker from National Urban Alliance speaking in front of class

Growing Together

Our Relationship with The National Urban Alliance

The National Urban Alliance for Effective Education (NUA) and the University of St. Thomas teamed up for a three-day Summer Institute focused on training K-12 educators to help every child reach their potential.

Read about the Virtual Summer institute