Education Specialist in Teacher Leadership (EdS degree)


The Education Specialist (EdS) in Teacher Leadership equips teachers who want to extend themselves to serve in teacher-leader roles, both formal and informal, and apply their knowledge and skills to best serve the common good in their school or district. The program supports the development of educational leaders who can critically evaluate and apply current research, analyze educational trends, gather and use evidence appropriately, and know how to promote and guide best practices in student and adult learning.

The EdS in Teacher Leadership develops servant leaders who are masters of their speciality but also masters of the big picture so they will improve the system and the lives of students. The 32-credit program can be completed in two to three years and offers the following specialty options:

  • Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment concentration specifically designed for current or aspiring Instructional Coaches, Mentors, and Teachers on Special Assignment.
  • Reading/Literacy which meets TSPC requirements for the Reading Specialist Endorsement along with passing the Reading Praxis exam.
  • English as a Second Language/Bilingual which meets TSPC requirements for the ESOL Endorsement along with passing the ESOL ORELA. Students can add the Bilingual category to the ESOL Endorsement by reflecting that aspect in their practicum and passing an additional Content Knowledge and Productive Language Skills test.
  • EdS in Teacher Leadership PLUS Special Education Endorsement (39 cr.) The EdS in Teacher Leadership PLUS Special Education Endorsement degree provides professionals seeking the opportunity to embed a Special Education endorsement within the context of a degree that connects learning from that area of specialization to the larger context of school/district systems and educational leadership. Teacher leaders are essential contributors to successful schools and districts. Special Education services bring challenges and complexities that are rarely addressed well in school improvement and reform efforts.


Program Objectives

Educational objectives

To enable students to:

  • Understand and be able to articulate the personal relevance of the six “lenses” provided by the College of Education Conceptual Framework (Think Critically, Transform Practice, Promote Justice) and Professional Dispositions (Commitment to Courage, Integrity, and Seeking Multiple Perspectives)
  • Develop expertise in a specialty area
  • Use analysis of organizations, educational initiatives, and processes to promote and guide effective action
  • Use technology to solve problems
  • Use research tools to investigate questions and apply educational research to problems of practice
  • Understand measures of student achievement and know how to gather and use evidence appropriately
Professional Objectives

To enable students to:

  • Attain professional endorsement related to a specialty area
  • Apply that area of expertise as a servant leader in a collaborative leadership context
  • Create and sustain collaborative, collegial learning organizations
  • Enact just leadership that provides effective, reasoned solutions to problems encountered in the process of meeting valued institutional and community goals
  • Integrate personal faith commitments into professional practice

Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to the EdS program must show evidence of a master's degree in education or related field from a regionally accredited university with a minimum GPA of 3.0. In addition, applicants must complete the following to be considered for admission to the program:

  • Education Specialist application and application fee
  • Personal essay as described in the application
  • Evidence of scholarly work (master's thesis, term paper, publication, etc.)*
  • One official transcript from all colleges or universities attended
  • Three professional references comprised of both a written letter and the Graduate Programs Reference Forms
  • Evidence of at least five years of full-time teaching experience. (Exceptions may be granted based upon George Fox faculty recommendation.)
  • A current professional résumé
  • Verification of valid Oregon teaching or administrative license or the equivalent
  • Completed Teachers Standards and Practices Character Questionnaire
  • Signed State of Oregon Guide to the Ethical Educator
  • Applicants must be available for an interview (in person or by phone) if deemed necessary for the admission process

*Students who do not have sufficient preparation in research may be asked to take a research course in addition to their program requirements.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit is not typically accepted for the Education Specialist program; however, limited exceptions may be made based upon approval.

Residence Requirements

All work leading to the Education Specialist in Teacher Leadership must be completed within five years from the time of matriculation. Extension of this limit requires approval of the Graduate Teaching and Leading (GTL) Faculty. However, only one such extension may be considered due to special circumstances, such as ill health. Reinstatement to the program after withdrawal requires Admissions Committee action and may subject the student to additional requirements for the degree.

Course Requirements

The Education Specialist program is generally 2-3 years in length with 32 semester hours of course work required as a minimum for graduation. Of those hours, 18 hours are in an area of specialization and 14 hours are in the EdS Integration and Application Core, which includes a 4-hour capstone project.

EdS in Teacher Leadership PLUS Special Education Endorsement degree program option increases the required degree hours from 32 to 39. The endorsement courses in special education include 25 credits that are added to the 14 credits in the EdS Integration and Application Core.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate with the EdS degree students must:

  • Satisfactorily complete a minimum of 32 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.
  • Achieve no grade lower than a B in all core courses. If a grade of a B- or lower is received in a designated course, that course must be retaken (for more specific information, please refer to the student handbook).
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Course Requirements

Complete the following:

Students are introduced to the six lenses of the EDFL Conceptual Framework and Professional Dispositions within the context of servant leadership and will begin the process of applying these understandings to the work of creating collegial, collaborative environments in schools. Each student will write a personal essay incorporating personal reflections on the six lenses and elements of effective leadership for the common good. Students will also be introduced to a model of organizational coherence to serve as a tool to analyze the workings of educational systems and apply this to their work context.
Participants will review the characteristics of educational research, including action research, and its appropriate use in decision-making. Participants will consider the value and limitations of various forms of data regarding student achievement, from large-scale testing to day-to-day formative assessment, and how each kind of data is best used in decision-making. Emphasis will be placed on research and assessment literacy and integrity in decision-making. Assignments will be adapted to each student's professional work.
Change is part of the world of schooling. Understanding the dynamics of change and the strategies to maintain coherence in the midst of change are keys to successful leadership from the classroom to the school board. This course will focus on the use of technology as a tool in instruction, assessment, and professional development as a case study to explore how change initiatives come about, how they enter the school setting, how they are processed, and why some change initiatives bring positive results, some falter, and some never get off the ground. Special attention will be given to analysis of current initiatives at the national, state, and district level. Assignments will be adapted to each student¿s professional work.
This course provides foundational concepts related to organizational and professional learning theory, especially related to current practices in developing a learning culture and creating, leading, and sustaining professional learning communities that are focused on student growth. Mentoring and peer coaching models will be explored. Assignments will be adapted to each student's professional work.
The focus of this course is on identifying, implementing, and supporting best practice at both the classroom and systems levels with a special focus on issues of equitable access and achievement for diverse learners. Best practice will be examined from several theoretical models, as well as from the research base in effective teaching literature. Barriers to change will be explored, including issues of cultural competence. The course will emphasize current reform initiatives in schools designed to address access barriers and achievement gaps. Assignments will be adapted to each student's professional work.
The student will submit a proposal for the capstone project, utilizing the preparation from EDFL 657 and EDFL 678. The project will involve an in-depth educational research project that addresses a current initiative or problem of practice being addressed in student¿s school or district and requires that the student has a leadership role in the work.
The student will complete final portions of their capstone project. The final document will be prepared in the format of an article for a professional journal and will be posted on TaskStream.
The student will present their completed project to fellow Ed.S. students and faculty. Students will also make a presentation in the local context where the work was conducted (district or school) that shares results but also demonstrates an understanding of the specific system by discerning what message content and methods are most appropriate in the specific context.
Each student will update and revise the personal essay completed in EDFL 645, which incorporates personal reflections on the elements of the EDFL Conceptual Framework and Professional Dispositions, and addresses Servant Leadership. This revision will allow students to reflect upon learning in classes and understandings gained from capstone project work. This essay will be posted on TaskStream.

Specialization - (18 hours - select one)

Complete the following:

Classroom teachers become acquainted with a wide variety of methods for assessing student progress at the classroom and individual level. Students will develop assessment instruments and procedures that relate to their own disciplines. Current methods of assessment - including portfolios, rubrics, and other forms of authentic assessment - will be covered.
This course considers major topics dealing with the theories of cognition and learning. Topics include: the human as a processor of information, memory, schema theory, network models of cognition, meaningful learning, transfer of learning, situated cognition, perceptual control theory, and a biblical view of cognition and learning.
This course focuses on the issues related to public and school-based concerns about literacy learning. The discussion of issues will lead to research-based applications that can be translated into the classroom practice at the elementary, middle, or high school level.
This course explores the complex issues of implementing, sustaining, and institutionalizing the use of technology for teaching and learning throughout an educational organization. A plan for a real or hypothetical education organization is a final project for the course.
This course focuses on the historical foundations of special education and the American with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), theory, law and policy to include legislation and litigation, and ethical perspectives. The course addresses issues of culture, language, and diversity in relation to disabilities, social justice, and the inclusion of all students within the P-20 classroom and individuals with disabilities within the public sector. This course is applicable to inservice teachers, school administrators, higher education faculty, and community service personnel.
Emphasis is placed on application of methods covered in the following areas: supervision techniques, leadership in site-based management, action research management, and methods for mentoring new teachers, student teachers, and peers. Prerequisite: EDFL 640 Leadership in Education, or teacher's permission.
Analysis and investigation of current research in effective teaching methods as related to specific subject areas, learning styles, and current school reform will be applied.

Complete the following:

Thoughtful classroom practice depends on sound theory. This course examines some current competing theories, looks at the implications of various literacy theories as they impact classroom decision making, and, through reading and discussion, develop a personal understanding of literacy processes. The linguistic framework of reading and its place in the language arts will also be explored.
Classroom teachers become acquainted with a wide variety of methods for assessing student progress in reading and writing. Administration and scoring of these tests will be explored. Information about how testing results can facilitate teaching and learning is the goal.
This course focuses on current methods and materials for reading/literacy instruction. The strategies used by proficient readers will be explored and teaching methods will be modeled and implemented. Methods of assessment and strategies for remediation will also be explored.
This course focuses on the issues related to public and school-based concerns about literacy learning. The discussion of issues will lead to research-based applications that can be translated into the classroom practice at the elementary, middle, or high school level.
The content of this course includes: the organization of reading programs within the context of state and federal regulation and within the structure of the school-wide program; the types of testing used to diagnose and monitor student progress; the methods that can be used to involve parents, paraprofessionals, and volunteers; and the methods available to assess program effectiveness. Observations in a variety of school settings will be organized.

Choose one of the following:

This course focuses on the reading and writing needs of the student at the middle level and in the high school. The teaching of critical reading and writing strategies will be included as well as assessment tools. This course is required for those pursuing the middle level and high school authorizations of the reading endorsement, but is appropriate for teachers of all levels.
This course explores theoretical principles and practices based on current research. Emphasis is on strategies for coming to print, print conventions, and reading aloud. Shared, guided, and independent reading and writing is also explored. These strategies are based on theoretical assumptions from the psychology of language and cognition development and linguistics.

Enrollment in the appropriate practicum requires successful completion of READ 530, READ 531, READ 532, READ 534 and READ 538.

Complete the following:

This course will focus on the historical foundations and purpose of special education, theory, special education law and policy, including legislation and litigation, and ethics. The course provides the foundational knowledge needed to understand exceptionalities of all kinds.
The theoretical and practical aspects of human development with emphasis on - birth through young adult – and the connection to developmental psychology and learning theory. Functional knowledge of exceptionalities: autism, dyslexia, executive functioning are developed as it relates to learning.
This course prepares candidates to meet the needs of school students with high incidence learning disabilities in general education classrooms. Develops curricular modifications and adaptations to evaluate content curriculum, and to provide assistance to general education teachers. Develops knowledge and skills to adjust curriculum content using Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and informal assessments to provide information on student progress in the general education curriculum.
This course prepares candidates to meet the needs of school students with low incidence disabilities. Candidates explore, discuss and learn how to plan and implement curriculum that includes CCSS as well as informing disability eligibility decisions as well as instruction in academic and functional low incidence disabilities including: intellectual disability, hearing impairment, visual impairment, deaf/blindness, communication disorder, emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairment, traumatic brain injury, autism spectrum disorder, and other health impairments. Functional living skills are incorporated into content planning.
This course addresses assessment and evaluation as the means for informing special education disability decisions as well as instructional decisions. The candidate will learn and practice multiple ways of assessing students. These include informal assessment, progress monitoring, formal evaluations, and standardized achievement tests. Candidate will learn to write formal reports that emphasize proper administration of assessments and ethical complications of the evaluation process to synthesize all that data to create a cohesive picture of the student’s standing, and continue to use the appropriate assessment tools to generate the information needed to make curricular and program decisions.
This course will focus on developing candidates’ ability to evaluate technological and assistive supports and determine appropriateness for exceptional learners. Candidates will design and develop assistive technology tools for use in academic and functional settings.
Candidates will gain knowledge and skills in writing effective, compliant Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and acquire communication and collaboration strategies to facilitate IEP meetings and interactions with families. Candidates will identify key issues that could lead to litigation. Course content includes communication, organization, compliance and administrative management.
This course will focus on preparation of candidates to work with students who demonstrate significant emotional/behavioral, trauma, and fetal alcohol/drug issues and use interventions that are research-based. Candidates are instructed on the methods of behavior analysis and accommodation strategies to include development of behavior support plans.
This course will focus on the families, individuals, and community supports for individuals with disabilities ages birth - 21. Candidates will identify age-appropriate services such as Head Start, early intervention, vocational educational programs, community experiences, employment and other post-school adult living objectives, acquisition of daily living skills, if appropriate, and access to state and federal services. Candidate will also learn all required federal/state requirements for secondary transition plans. They will learn how to apply and develop an individual Education Plan for students of transition age.
This practicum will be completed at either early childhood elementary, or elementary middle, or middle level and high school, in settings with students identified with mild to moderate disabilities. Candidates will complete a work sample during this practicum. Candidates will complete a minimum of 90 hours of clinical practice in a mild to moderate disability placement.
This practicum will be completed at either early childhood elementary, or elementary middle, or middle level and high school, in settings with students identified with moderate to severe disabilities. Candidates will complete a minimum of 90 hours of clinical practice in a moderate to severe disability placement.