The road to positions in educational leadership may be long and challenging, but earning an Education Specialist in Educational Leadership degree from Mississippi College will yield rewarding opportunities in curriculum and instruction at the building and district levels.
Experienced teachers interested in pursuing positions of leadership must be prepared to dedicate time and energy to a demanding course of study. At Mississippi College, acceptance to the education specialist program requires advanced education and professional experience.
Education and Preparation – Candidates are required to have a master's degree in an area of professional education with a 3.25 GPA in all graduate work.
Experience – Teaching experience must be proven in three ways:
- You must hold a current permanent teaching license.
- On that license, you must show a minimum of three years of teaching experience.
- School administrators must provide at least three letters of recommendation, including a school district endorsement.
Coursework in a Post-Master's Degree Program – Preparing for advanced leadership and teaching jobs requires coursework beyond basic leadership and teaching skills. The education specialist degree at Mississippi College includes rigorous core, anchor and specialized courses.
- Core courses include in-depth studies of effective leadership and communication, the design and application of research projects, how to analyze and use statistics, and teaching concepts regarding the brain, age-appropriate strategies and learner characteristics.
- Anchor courses, some of which involve field-based experiences, focus on legal structures and issues, problems common to educational leaders, personnel and finance management, and using data to drive instruction.
- Curriculum and instruction courses are designed "to help current and aspiring leaders to develop competencies in the areas of curriculum planning, scope, sequence, reform, and evaluation." In addition, candidates investigate the potential of technology in the classroom to develop curriculum and manage instruction, as well as support administrative tasks and regular student assessments. These online courses are paired with practicums, enabling candidates to gain experience in the field.
Job Opportunities for the Prepared Education Specialist
At the building level, you may want to remain in the classroom and enhance your skills while you prepare to lead your grade-level or content-area team of teachers. As a team leader, you will be responsible for arranging regular and special meetings, guiding discussion and decision-making, and ensuring that student data required by the district and governing authorities is current and accurate. You will provide the knowledge and skills needed to help your colleagues with curriculum and instruction issues. Educational consultants Cindy Harrison and Joellen Killion write that you will be both catalyst and advocate for change: "Teachers who take on the catalyst role feel secure in their own work and have a strong commitment to continual improvement. They pose questions to generate analysis of student learning."
Positions you may want to consider at the district level include curriculum director or instructional coordinator. Your job description in either will depend on the district, but some duties overlap:
- Select curriculum materials
- Modify or replace existing curriculum
- Provide appropriate and timely professional development for teachers and staff
- Review current data and research regarding trends in instruction
- Consult with teachers, administrators and the community on how to best meet the needs of students with suitable curriculum and effective instruction
- Evaluate and select testing and assessment tools
- Collaborate with other administrators and teachers on long-range strategic goals
- Mentor teachers
You also may be qualified for positions outside the K-12 educational setting, such as teaching at the post-secondary level. As an adjunct instructor, you will work with pre-service teachers, using your experience and strong leadership skills to create the next generation of leaders.
Related careers include textbook editor, educational consultant, and corporate or military trainer. In each, your leadership skills and knowledge of curriculum selection and best practices in instruction will give you an edge.
Earnings Potential and Jobs Outlook
The average salary for a curriculum director, according to PayScale, is $73,605, with some districts paying over $100,000. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for 2016-2026 is 11% growth, which is faster than the average growth for other professional positions.
As a candidate for a career in this arena, you must be ready for the challenge. The Curriculum and Instruction track of the Education Specialist in Educational Leadership program offered by faith-based Mississippi College can be completed at a pace that works for you. It will prepare you to support a diverse student population and make a positive impact on your school and community as you evaluate, select and develop effective curriculum and assessment materials.
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