Jul 24, 2024  
Fall 2024 - Summer 2025 Graduate Catalog 
Fall 2024 - Summer 2025 Graduate Catalog

Education Specialist in Performance-Based School/District Leadership with Tier II Certification

Location(s): Online

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27 hours

The University of North Georgia (UNG) offers a 27-semester hour Educational Specialist in Performance-Based School/District Leadership with Tier II Certification (EDS) degree. The EDS is a four-semester program designed for educators who are preparing for leadership positions in public schools who evaluate other leaders. The program qualifies candidates for a Tier II credential in Educational Leadership at the Georgia PL-6 certification as a School Building Leader or School District Leader. Candidates entering this program must have Tier I certification at Level 5 and in a current leadership role requiring the Tier I certification. Cohorts begin in the summer semester.

This program aims to develop school leaders who will have a lasting, positive impact on teaching and student achievement. A review of research reports (Wallace Foundation & Southern Regional Educational Board) on leadership training emphasizes that “when learning becomes the preoccupation of the school, when all the school’s educators examine the efforts and initiatives of the school through the lens of their impact on learning, the structure and culture of the school begin to change in substantive ways.” According to Richard DuFour, “principals foster this structural and cultural transformation when they shift their emphasis from helping individual teachers improve instruction to helping teams of teachers ensure that students achieve the intended outcomes of their schooling. More succinctly, teachers and students benefit when principals function as learning leaders rather than instructional leaders.”

The Tier II Program is an approved program by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. The program is reviewed and part of the UNG College of Education accreditation process through the Council for the Accreditation of Educators Preparation (CAEP). The program of study aligns with the national leadership standards, Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSELS) formally the ISLC Standards, as well as the Georgia Educational Leaders Standards (GELS) and the Leadership Keys Educational Standards (LKES).

The goal of the program is to prepare creative, flexible, visionary, and reflective leaders with the skills necessary to facilitate and improve the quality of learning for all students. Towards this end, students complete a sequence of courses as a learning community and engage in class and field-based experiential learning projects designed to develop important leadership skills. In addition to course work, leadership candidates complete 9 semester hours of supervised internships tailored to individual career objectives.

University of North Georgia (UNG) accepts applications for the EDS program for Summer Semester only. As an initial step, applicants must meet requirements for admission to UNG as described below. The application packet is then forwarded to the College of Education Graduate Office for further review. For additional program information, review the Graduate Studies website at www.ung.edu/Graduate.

The Ed.S degree in Performance-Based School/District Leadership offers an innovative and research-based educational leadership program designed to build the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of candidates by expanding their capacities to lead continuous school improvement in both high and low-performing schools.

This is achieved through a process of:

  • Acquired Knowledge (i.e. Readings and assignments from online modules, observations and interactions with principals/district office leaders at internship schools/districts, follow up sessions with course instructors and cohort members, and quarterly seminars with course instructors, site mentors, coaches, and presenters)
  • Application in the Field (i.e. Major key assignments and follow-up activities, module assignments, classroom walk-throughs, and other practicum/internship requirements)
  • Systematic Coaching and Feedback (i.e. Module facilitators, cohort colleagues, site mentors/supervisors, and university clinical coaches)

EDS Admission Requirements

  • Master’s degree from an accredited institution (as defined under Accredited Institutions in the Academic Information section of the Graduate Catalog) with at least a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 (4.0 scale) at the master’s level calculated in accordance with Graduate Admissions procedures. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted for the purposes of applicant review and admission decisions. Official transcripts must be on file with Graduate Admissions prior to the student being able to register for courses.
  • Three years of K-12 teaching experience.
  • Required Supplemental Documents
    • Letter of recommendation from a supervisor or school/district administrator.
    • Professional Resume 
    • Tier 1 Georgia Leadership Certification OR hold a valid GaPSC-issued Standard Professional L or PL certificate in Educational Leadership.
    • Employment in a leadership position that requires Tier 1 certification or that the system designates as a leadership position.

Students who are admitted, but do not enroll within three semesters following acceptance must reapply through Graduate Studies. Students who were previously enrolled but have not been in attendance for three semesters must also reapply. All documents and materials submitted to fulfill the application requirements for entry to a program at UNG become the property of the university and will not be returned. Materials are kept for one year for incomplete application files and three years for complete application files.

Provisional Admission

Students who do not meet regular admission requirements may be granted provisional admission pending a successful admission appeal (see Appeal of Graduate Admission). Provisionally admitted students are not eligible for federal financial aid.

Non-Degree Admission

A student may not enroll in EDS courses as a non-degree-seeking student.

Transient Student Admission

A student may not enroll in EDS courses as a transient student.

Appeal of Graduate Admission

A candidate whose application is denied has the right to appeal the decision. An appeal must be emailed as a pdf attachment to grads@ung.edu. The letter should clearly state the grounds for appeal. See https://ung.edu/graduate-admissions/appeals.php for further instruction.

EDS Transfer Residency Requirement

To be awarded an Education Specialist in School Leadership degree, students must earn a minimum of 21 semester hours of graduate degree requirements in residence A maximum of six hours of transfer credit may be approved. Transfer credit will not be given for any course in which a grade of C or lower was earned.

EDS Academic Policies

Incomplete Grades

The EDS program adheres to the uniform grading system in the Academic Information  section of the Graduate Catalog. Non-academic Incompletes must be finished by the beginning of the second semester after which the Incomplete was awarded.  No degree will be conferred on a student who has an unresolved incomplete grade remaining on their transcript.

Academic Standing Policy

An EDS student whose academic performance is unsatisfactory will be subject to the following:

  1. Probation – The student will be placed on probation for any of the following reasons:
    1. The student’s cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0.
    2. The student earns any grade of C or lower.

No student may be a candidate for the degree while on probation due to a grade point average below 3.0. Probation will be removed when the student’s grade point average reaches 3.0 or higher. In cases where the student is placed on probation due to grade(s), probation will be removed when the course(s) is/are repeated and the grade is B or higher, and the overall grade point average is 3.0 or greater. Students who are on probation may not register until advised.

  1. Suspension – The student will be placed on suspension for any of the following reasons:
    1. The student earns two grades of C or lower.
    2. The student has already served three consecutive semesters on academic probation.

No student may enroll in graduate courses at UNG while on suspension. Courses taken at another institution during the period of suspension will not be recognized for transfer credit. After serving a suspension period of three semesters, a student seeking to reapply must submit a new application to Graduate Studies and a letter written to the Dean of the College of Education presenting a rationale for readmission. A student will be readmitted only upon approval of the Dean of the College of Education, the Department Head, and the program coordinator.

Academic and Professional Integrity Policy

At the end of each semester, the program faculty or the College of Education Graduate Office may intervene to establish a plan of action for any student in the program whose competency is in question, for reasons including unprofessional, disruptive, or unethical behavior in the classroom or applied setting. The student and the program advisor should sign the plan with copies forwarded to the Department Head.

Academic Integrity

The University of North Georgia recognizes honesty and integrity as necessary to the university’s academic functioning. UNG graduate students are expected to uphold the university regulations addressed in the Student Code of Conduct, Article 3, Rule 2.

Professional Integrity

The Education Specialist program adheres to the university’s definition of professional integrity as described in the Academic Information  sections of the Graduate Catalog, as well as The Code of Ethics for Educators provided by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

EDS Degree Requirements

Graduation requirements for the Education Specialist in School Leadership degree include:

  1. Completion of 18 designated semester hours of study with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher with no grade below a B.
  2. Completion of 9 designated performance-based residency hours with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher with no grade below a B as demonstrated in completion of the residency portfolio completed over three semesters.
  3. Completion of all degree-related course requirements, including any transfer credit, within a six-year period.
  4. Candidates must enroll in and receive a passing score on the Performance Assessment for School Leadership (PASL).

Program of Study

Required PSC Testing

  • GACE in School Leadership/ETS in Performance Assessment for School Leaders & Ethics Assessment for Leaders


The EDS in School Leadership is a four-semester program that requires a 12-month residency.  Each semester candidates meet with both university and site-base supervisors to plan, monitor, and make program adjustments as needed to the year-long internship.  A minimum of four conferences is outlined on the Internship Supervisor Acceptance form.  The Leadership Portfolio requires a detailed induction/action plan that is aligned to the ELCC Six Standards.  This plan is designed during the first semester of the Internship and must be completed and approved by the Leader Support Team and University Supervisor before beginning any experiences.

Both the university and site supervisor are required to review the Leadership Performance Portfolio and provide feedback.  Portfolio assessment occurs each semester and reported formally to the university.  Each sited supervisor is required to sign an agreement outlining the internship requirements and support needed to the candidate.  Each candidate and site supervisor develops a schedule to project planned meetings, coaching sessions, and conferences.  Each semester the site supervisor provides feedback on performance. At the end of the spring semester, each candidate prepares a 30-45 minute oral review/audit of work completed in each of the six standards and any leadership experiences that have been added to the internship. This presentation is reviewed by the Leader Support Team.

The exit portfolio is completed during the last semester of internship and submitted for final review to the Leader Support Team and University Supervisor.

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