Transforming education through exceptional leadership.

As a dedicated teacher and educational leader, you know the impact you can have on your students. Because you’ve already seen it happen. Leading to a Master of Arts in Education (M.A.E.) degree, Marian’s educational leadership program will position you to advance your career and inspire even more students and communities, in countless ways.

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The Program

At Marian, we aim to develop leaders who make a positive impact in the field of education. Our educational leadership program is designed to motivate and meet the needs of individuals who want to develop or continue professional competence in leadership roles in PK–12 schools. The program is rigorous and taught by knowledgeable and experienced faculty members, providing you opportunities for enrichment and growth in a collegial environment. As a student in the program, you’ll develop critical thinking skills and an attitude of self-reflection. You’ll also define the valuing process, its foundations and its applications in today’s dynamic educational systems. The curriculum is specifically oriented to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Teacher Education Program Approval and Licenses: Chapter PI 34, and leads to licensure as a school principal (Wisconsin code 51), director of instruction (Wisconsin code 10), school business administrator (Wisconsin code 8) or director of special education and pupil services (Wisconsin code 80).

For more details regarding this program, view Marian’s Academic Bulletin.

Sample Course Plan:
Download Sample Course Plan

Common core courses, 18 credits:

(Attendance in this non-credit online course is required for all new MAE in Educational Leadership and licensure-only students.  Students need to complete EDL 600 during their first semester of courses in their program of study.)  Provides vital academic information and introduction to basic technology skills necessary for success in Educational Leadership programs. (Receives CR/NC grade.)

Assists students in the development of an administrative licensure portfolio to demonstrate proficiency of the required competencies for licensure by the State of Wisconsin (PI34.03).

This course provides an introduction to leadership research and theory as it is distinguished from management and administration theory. An overview of the educational enterprise, this course also introduces concepts and issues related to the mission, organization, management, and leadership of the school.

While Special Education law at the State and Federal levels provides guarantees of appropriate academic and developmental programming for those qualifying, there are numerous students in every school in the nation, who have unique needs which have no such educational assurances. The course will draw on relevant research, contemporary models of practice that will help prepare those aspiring to school leadership positions to better understand and address the challenge of designing and effectively implementing a range of Special School Programs and Student Support Services which will be more effectively responsive to success for greater numbers of the children who come to today’s schools.

This course involves the study and application of varous means of communication, strategies for effective school community relations and a discipline (i.e. a system of organized, structured, systemic, orderly steps) through which the school, as a subsystem of society, “constantly strives to recreate itself to achieve extraordinary purpose.” Emphasis is given the importance of having in place a means for systemic change designed to take into account the diverse needs of the school as an institution and the unique publics which it serves. The course requires the active participation of the student. The end product is the development of a “Strategic Plan” which includes a comprehensive communication program.

The purpose of this course is to help educational leaders and administrators understand the financial and business aspects of the profession. Although the educational endeavor in the United States is, by and large, non-profit, education is, in fact big business. It is imperative that educational leaders understand the financial realm in which schools operate.

An orientation to the legal system will be presented with a focus on the impact and role of the courts and legislative law in the policy formulation and procedures of educational organizations. The influence of national, state, and local politics on education will be examined.

Examination of values development and ethical leadership theory. Emphasis is on identifying values and ethics in one’s own life and on the skills and practices necessary to be an ethical leader.

Complete one of the following:

Principal, Director of Instruction, and Director of Special Education and Pupil Services licenses, 14 credits:

The purpose of this course is to study the role and responsibilities of the school principalship at the pre-K, elementary, middle, and secondary levels, with emphasis on the development of operational skills. Responses to contemporary and anticipated problems affecting the elementary, middle, and secondary schools are based upon tested theory, research, and applied practices. Operational tasks will be studied with a view toward enhancing management and leadership effectiveness.

This course focuses on the theoretical bases, current practices, issues, values, technological and leadership skills for the development and evaluation of curriculum and assessments. Students will explore the concepts and values underlying curriculum theory and various assessment designs. The valuing process will be explored in both its theoretical and practical aspects in curriculum. An emphasis on the implementation of curricular improvement efforts in an organizational setting and the appropriate use of educational technology applications provides the context for exploration of additional instructional and assessment issues.

The focus of this course provides those aspiring to leadership positions with a systematic introduction to supervision and personnel development. Emphasis will be on employee performance, evaluation, and professional growth. Theory, research, conceptual frameworks, historical perspective and practical application represent the core content. Attention will also be given current issues regarding supervision, evaluation, and personnel development. The basic goal of the course is to provide aspiring leaders with knowledge, understanding, experience and insight into the challenge of supervision and personnel development as a means for school improvement and student success.



The practicum is a substantive site-based experience that will require the application of theory in practice as a Director of Special Education and Pupil Services. The practicum student will have the support and guidance of a licensed director of special education and pupil services and a Marian College field supervisor, as the student develops personal and professional goals.


The practicum is a substantive site-based experience that will require the application of theory in practice as a principal. The practicum student will have the support and guidance of a licensed school principal and a Marian College field supervisor, as the student develops personal and professional goals.


The practicum is a substantive site-based experience that will require the application of theory in practice as a Director of Instruction. The practicum student will have the support and guidance of a licensed director of instruction and a Marian College field supervisor, as the student develops personal and professional goals.

(practicum related to licensure sought)
EDL elective, 3 credits

School Business Administrator license, 14 credits:

The economics of education, public school finance and taxation, the legislative and judicial context for school business management, and human resource management will be developed in this course. Topics to be included are: fiscal models for funding education, budget preparation and implementation, purchasing and supply management, cash flow management and investing, and debt service management.

This course is designed to develop a conceptual understanding of advanced accounting and computer applications for school district fiscal administration. Tasks and procedures of accounting, auditing, and reporting, and three types of funds, governmental, proprietary, and fiduciary, will be examined. Fundamental concepts involved in organizing data and selecting a data processing system to ensure successful data processing and information management operations will be developed.

The course is designed to foster a conceptual understanding of school human resources administration, focusing on relevant topics and issues in this evolving process. Study and analysis of the grievance procedure process provides detailed evaluation of arbiters’ rulings and employee relations as affected by rulings on adjudicated grievances. Understanding of management of insurance contracts and risk management, negotiations and bidding processes will be developed.

The purpose of this course is to provide an overview for the business administrator of planning and decision making necessary to efficiently use and/or plan auxiliary services in the areas of buildings and grounds facilities, building maintenance programs, food services, and pupil transportation services.



The practicum is a substantive site-based experience that will require the application of theory and management skills in practice as a school business manager. The practicum student will have the support and guidance of a business manager and/or school superintendent and a Marian University field supervisor, as the student develops personal and professional goals.

International Society for Technology in Education
ISTE Standards for Administrators
ISTE-A Standards

Wisconsin Administrators License
WI Admin Standards

State of Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction
Licensure Program Content Guidelines

Educational Leadership Program Mission
The mission of the Educational Leadership MAE program is to prepare candidates for leadership positions in public and private settings by providing candidates with opportunities to study and apply theories, standards, and practices in educational leadership.

Student Learning Outcomes
After completion of this program, candidates will:

  1. Facilitate the development of a shared vision of learning.
  2. Promote a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth.
  3. Manage the learning organization, including operations and resources for a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment.
  4. Collaborate and mobilize resources to meet the needs of a diverse learning community.
  5. Act with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner.
  6. Analyze and influence the larger political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context.
  7. Demonstrate content knowledge and processes in the field of educational leadership necessary to promote effective teaching and learning.

The Education Programs offered by the Marian University School of Education are approved by the:

wi-dept-public-instruction-logo         aacte-logo          caep-logo

Marian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

When it comes to developing talented teachers and educational leaders throughout Wisconsin, Marian is among the best. Schools and school districts across the state look to Marian because they know what they’ll get in our graduates—teachers and leaders who are passionate about education and inspire students to achieve their very best. The educational leadership program offers flexible scheduling options for the working professional educator. Our learning centers are conveniently located in Appleton, Fond du Lac, Wausau and West Allis. Classes run in the fall, spring and summer semesters and meet in the evenings and on select weekends. The option of daytime classes is available during the summer. Additionally, some classes are offered in hybrid or fully-online format.

Admission with full standing
To be admitted in full standing to the MAE degree program, degree-seeking applicants must have the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree in education or related area from a regionally or nationally accredited program;
  • A teaching license or evidence of eligibility to hold such a license; and
  • A minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) or a minimum GPA of 3.30 in the last 60 credits of their undergraduate program.

Degree requirements
The Educational Leadership program requires a minimum of 32 credits (23 or more in educational leadership from Marian University). The student may earn certification in PK-12 administration after completing the degree program.

Degree candidates must meet the following requirements:

  1. Completion of the required coursework or its equivalent with a minimum GPA of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale). Grades below C (2.00) are not counted toward meeting degree requirements;
  2. Successful completion of the online professional portfolio;
  3. Successful completion of the master’s comprehensive exam;
  4. Submission of application for degree completion;
  5. Eligibility to hold a Wisconsin license to teach; and
  6. Submission of evidence of three years of successful classroom teaching.

Candidates for the degree and/or license may need to meet additional state and University requirements, as determined at the time of admission.

Dr. David Boers
1-800-262-7426 ext. 7179

Dr. Donna Innes, C.S.A.
1-800-262-7426 ext. 7633

Dr. Patrick Saunders
1-800-262-7426 ext. 8556

Dr. Bradd Stucky
1-800-262-7426 ext. 7636


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Dean, School of Education
Dr. Kelly Chaney
1-800-262-7426 ext. 8100