Educational Specialist (EdS) in Instructional Leadership and School Administration

Prepare for your principal certification while earning your EdS in our leadership- and administration-focused Education Specialist program.

Teacher in front of class

Our 30-hour EdS program is 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.

Why earn your EdS at Bellarmine?

Our program strives to prepare principals who have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to take the risks necessary to effect positive changes in schools so that all children and adolescents can be successful.

Program Highlights

Bellarmine's principal certification advanced program, with its theme "Educator as Reflective Learner," places high priority on educators ready to lead in an environment of school 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; knowledge of self; 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. Candidates in this program will also complete field hours as part of the program’s requirements.

Candidates in this program are assigned a university mentor who will work with the candidate through the duration of the program. Completers of the program will be eligible to serve as a principal or assistant principal, grades P–12. Bellarmine University participates in a principal preparation agreement with the Jefferson County Public Schools.

Student Story

B. Howard

“Bellarmine's Ed.S. program is top notch. Through the program, I have obtained the skills and knowledge to be a principal that positively impacts students, teachers, parents, and our community.”

Brandy Howard
Instructional Coach
Lebanon Junction Elementary School

Faculty Profiles

Here is a quick snapshot of a few of our faculty members. Find all of our distinguished faculty here.

Grant Smith, Ph.D.

Grant Smith, Ph.D. is Chair of Doctoral Programs and Assistant Professor of Research Design and Statistics. Grant spent over 20 years in the private sector working in operations management, mergers and acquisitions and the design and execution of feasibility research and process improvement studies. His research interests include accountability measurements, and the relationship of educational outcomes and economic opportunity. He received a B.A. from the University of Florida, a Ph.D. in measurement and statistics from the Florida State University and is currently completing postdoctoral studies at Harvard University where he works with the National Center for Teacher Effectiveness at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. At Bellarmine Grant teaches courses in statistics, research methods and evaluation.

Dr. Will Wells

Will Wells, Ed.D. is an Assistant Professor of Instructional Leadership and School Administration. He earned his doctoral degree from the University of Louisville in Educational Leadership and School Administration. Before joining the faculty at Bellarmine in 2016, Dr. Wells was Superintendent in the Oldham County Schools. His experience as a successful assistant superintendent, school principal, assistant principal, guidance counselor, and middle school teacher, in both urban and suburban districts, provided him a broad base of experience and expertise as he served in this role. His current research interests are systems, structures, and policies that improve teacher quality vis-à-vis job embedded professional learning such as the academy structure and other means of building teacher capacity in order to ensure the learning of ALL students. Wells teaches a variety of instructional leadership and administration courses to graduate students at the masters, specialist, and doctoral levels.

Rosie Young, Ed.D

Rosie Young, Ed.D serves as the Advanced Education, Graduate Programs Chair at Bellarmine University. She worked in the Jefferson County Public Schools for 38 years, 28 years as an elementary school principal before coming to Bellarmine in 2013 as the Field Placement Coordinator. She also served as the chair of the Ed.S. Program before assuming the chair of Graduate Programs. She holds certification in elementary education 1-8, school guidance counselor, principalship, ECE supervisor, and superintendency. She serves as a lead and site team member for CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation). In 2011, she was named Kentucky’s National Distinguished Principal for 2012. In addition, she was a Bellarmine Alumni award recipient in 2006 and received the Caritas Medal from Spalding University in 2011. Rosie was selected to serve on a national committee that developed the NELP (National Educational Leadership Preparation) Standards for Building and District level leadership. She co-chaired the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) committee that developed the Accomplished Principal Standards. Rosie also serves as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Association of Elementary School Principals. She volunteers her time in support of this association’s mission to lead and serve all elementary and middle level principals in Kentucky. She earned her B.A. from Bellarmine University, her M.Ed from the University of Louisville, and her Ed.D. from Spalding University.

Admission Requirements

A previously completed master’s degree is required with a preferred cumulative GPA of 3.50 from the advanced degree. A copy of valid, state-issued Professional Teaching Certificate is also required. For a complete list of Admission requirements, please visit our admission page.

Transcript Review

We can provide feedback about your transcript(s) and coursework. Simply complete the form below by attaching unofficial copies of your transcript(s).

Tuition and Fees

This program allows a summer start only, typically in late May dependent upon local school district calendars. Visit our Graduate Tuition Rates for the most up-to-date tuition and fees information.

Funding Assistance
School districts may apply tuition supports for this program, please contact your school district’s personnel specialist. As a degree seeking student in the EdS program, students should be eligible for federally supported forms of student aid. Financial aid questions should be directed to the Financial Aid Office at Bellarmine University ( or 502.272.7300).


All advanced-level teacher education programs at Bellarmine University's Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education are recognized by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board, and are fully accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.


Click to view CAEP Annual Reporting Measures

Contact Information

Rosie Young, Ed.D., Chair, Advanced Education, Graduate Programs

Sarah Schuble, Assistant Director of Graduate Student Enrollment

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