Educational Specialist (EdS) in Instructional Leadership and School Administration (Principal Program)

Chair or Program Director: 

Robert B. Cooter, Jr., Ed.D., Dean
Bellarmine Office Building 326, Phone 502.272.8076,

John Sizemore, M.Ed., Interim Chair of Advanced Graduate Education Programs
Bellarmine Office Building 320, Phone 502.272.7982,


Jean Green, Placement Director
Bellarmine Office Building 332, Phone 502.452.8191,

Anne B. Bucalos, Ed.D.; Sarah Bush, M.Ed.; Kathleen Cooter, Ph.D.; Christy McGee, Ed.D.; Theresa Magpuri-Lavell, Ed.D.; Corrie Orthober, PhD.; David Paige, Ed.D.; Lauren Pohl, M.A.; Belinda Richardson, Ed.D.; Kevin Thomas, Ph.D.; Chris Walsh, Ed.D.; Carl Williams, MAT; Dottie Willis, Ed.D.

The Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education at Bellarmine University offers a principal certification preparation program for educators who already hold a master’s degree in education. Students will receive an Educational Specialist Degree in Instructional Leadership and School Administration through participation in a best practice, research based curriculum with a practical field experience. 

The Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education at Bellarmine University is the beneficiary of the combined history, heritage, and commitment from Ursuline College and Bellarmine College. The merger of these two fine liberal arts institutions in 1968 brought an emphasis on teacher education to Bellarmine. The Catholic liberal arts philosophy, values, and purpose of Bellarmine University have and continue to permeate and drive the programs of the School of Education.

“Educator as Reflective Learner”
Bellarmine’s principal certification advanced program, with its theme “Educator as Reflective Learner,” places high priority on the development of educators ready to lead in an environment of high stakes accountability and to face the challenges of the 21st century schools. Reflective educators use their knowledge of content, practice, and pedagogy; knowledge of the learner; skills in leadership and guiding the change process; and management of educational logistics and facilities to personally evaluate their effectiveness. This on-going
process provides school leaders with a basis for self-evaluation of how well the acquired knowledge base relates to their current practice.
The student will engage in constant performance-based evaluation through course work and leadership field experiences across the program. Students are expected to enhance their skills as reflective practitioners, thus improving abilities to establish and guide their own personal and professional development.

Program Objectives

In addition to its unit mission, vision, and overall theme, the AFTSE requires candidates in all initial and advanced programs to demonstrate acceptable performance on its Program Objectives through the following criteria of continuous assessment: individual course assessments, field and clinical evaluations, disposition assessments, benchmark and/or anchor assessments, and Capstone Project and/or standardized exams (where appropriate). Based on this program assessment data, the candidate who achieves proficiency accomplishes the following Program Objectives:

  • Collaborates with education stakeholders, including parents, teachers, administrators, and the community, to improve student learning and achievement;
  • Reflects on diverse field and clinical experiences, making instructional decisions based on individual learner needs;
  • Demonstrates educator dispositions that value the dignity and unique development of individual learners, and the intellectual, moral, ethical, and professional competencies that characterize effective teaching and leading;
  • Analyzes data to make pedagogical and content based decisions that inform teaching, learning, leading, and achievement in the 21st Century; and
  • Employs Valli’s five reflective processes which include technical, personalistic, deliberative, in and on action, and critical reflection.


All teacher education programs at the advanced level recognized by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board are fully accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), 2010 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036; and approved by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board.

Requirements for Admission

  • A master's degree in education.
  • Official college transcripts of all graduate and undergraduate credits from accredited institutions in a sealed envelope from each institution.
  • A current resume (Note: Three years of successful teaching experience in a P-12 setting with full teacher certification during those 3 years is required).
  • A copy of the GRE score report.
  • A copy of valid state issued Professional Teaching Certificate.
  • Three recommendation forms from individuals who are former professors or who have supervised the applicant in a school
    setting. One recommendation must come from the applicant’s current principal/head teacher. All recommendations must be
    related to the professional environment.
  • If your undergraduate degree is from an international institution, you were born outside the United States, or English is
    your second language, you will be required to submit an official TOEFLiBT (internet-based test) score and receive a total score
    of 80 or higher. We will also consider an equivalent score on the IELTS or MELAB tests. The School of Education Admission,
    Progression and Graduation Committee reserves the right to require a TOEFL score from any applicant. 
  • Additional information is required from international applicants; see the Ed.S. admission application form for more information.

Those applicants meeting minimal requirements including a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale for all graduate work (3.5 GPA preferred), and three years of successful teaching experience will be contacted by the Graduate Admission Officer and invited to submit all required program essays and an Educational Autiobography (Personal Goal Statement).

After a detailed review, some applicants will be invited to complete Level II Screening prior to a final admission decision. This will include:

  • Acquisition of principal’s and/or supervising administrator’s consent.
  • Scheduled interview – once all other application materials are received and reviewed, a faculty member in the program will call to schedule an interview if the School of Education wishes to proceed with your request for admission. A school district representative will be included in this process.
  • Positive recommendation for admission from the Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education Admission Committee and appropriate consultation with officials from the candidate’s school district.

(Personal Goal Statement)
Complete an educational autobiography and personal goal statement.  Include your own educational background and experiences from pre-school to graduate work; work experiences; a discussion of your strengths and weaknesses; factors leading to your decision to pursue certification as a school principal; your academic, intellectual, and professional objectives; and your commitment to your professional development at Bellarmine University.

For application information contact the  Office of Graduate Admission at 1.800.274.4723 x 8258, 502.272.7200, or

Degree Requirements

Course Listing