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School of Graduate and Professional Studies

Department of Education

Master of Education in Educational Leadership Degree Program


Graduate Admission


Master of Education in Educational Leadership with Eligibility for Principal Endorsement

The Educational Leadership program is focused on the moral purpose of building the capacity of our graduate candidates so they can go forward and bring Cultures of Character practices into the heart of their school communities.

Educational Leadership Program Foundation Components

Kern graphic


Why Cultures of Character?

The emphasis on character combined with culture-building allows future leaders to not only design curricular efforts for character education and Social Emotional Learning, but also to extend this work throughout all aspects of the school environment.

Watch our M.Ed. in Educational Leadership webinar to learn more.

  • Identify and develop your own sense of leadership through clarity of your own vision, values, beliefs, and character orientation.
  • Learn how to create a safe, supportive, and nurturing culture including character frameworks.
  • Develop your ability to put systems into place and advocate for student-centered cultures of character that promote agency, including story-telling and sharing of best practice.
  • Advance your ability to create school environments that promote character development through parent and community partnerships, management efficacy and ongoing school improvement reflective of a growth mindset.

Master of Education in Educational Leadership Curriculum

The degree requires a student to complete 36 credit hours of prescribed coursework:

  • Seven 4-credit hour courses
  • A year-long internship (3 courses, 8 credit hours total)
    • Can be completed while candidates are employed full-time
Spring Semester begins January 11. MEDU 500 will be offered ONLINE during the Spring 2021 semester. 
Complete the Program in as little as 24 months
Spring 2021 Start
MEDU 500 Mission-driven Leadership (4)
Summer 2021
MEDU 536 School, Home & Community (4)
MEDU 620 Curriculum & Program Assessment (4)
Fall 2021
MEDU 535 Supervision & Instruction (4)
MEDU 691 Educational Internship Residency (2)
Spring 2022
MEDU 622 School Law & Policies (4)
MEDU 692 Educational Internship Residency I (3)
Summer 2022
MEDU 610 Operations & Management (4)
MEDU 693 Education Internship II (3)
Fall 2022
MEDU 696 Educational Leadership Capstone (4)

Educational Leadership, M.Ed.


The purpose of the Master of Educational Leadership Degree (M.Ed) is to develop principals and assistant principals who have the vision, perspective, and skills to lead educational communities. The program provides students with an understanding of the school environment and how an administrator--through his/her abilities at the technical, managerial and institutional levels--creates and fosters a professional learning environment that facilitates the learning of students, teachers, and staff. Students are provided a breadth of theory in leadership as well as a foundation of knowledge, practical experiences and performances necessary for the enterprise of educational leadership. The North Central College program provides a strong foundation of knowledge, dispositions and performance based on the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL, formerly ISLLC) leadership standards to prepare candidates to become successful school assistant principals and principals.  It is also aligned to NELP and Illinois Performance Standards for School Leaders.

The North Central College Educational Leadership Master's Degree admission standards address the new Illinois State Board of Education requirements for candidates, including appropriate educators license and two-years of professional experience in schools.  Latest updates to admission requirements are available on the graduate admissions web page.

The program and its internship requirements can still be completed while employed full-time in a school setting.  It does not require a candidate to take a leave of absence.  The year-long internship is taken by enrolling in MEDU 691, MEDU 692, and MEDU 693 (optional order as approved).

This one-year internship requires the selection of a principal mentor. As prescribed by the State of Illinois requirements, the principal mentor must have a minimum of two years of experience, an Illinois license and evidence of student growth in two of the past five years as a principal. As part of the program, candidates will be required to participate in training by certified staff in accordance with provisions of Section 24 A-3 of the School Code (105 ILCS/24A-3). This training will involve completion of the State-prescribed teacher supervision modules.  Students are also required to take Principal exams as designated for the principal endorsement, currently Principal Exam 195 & 196. 

The program includes requirements for fulfilling licensure requirements for the principal endorsement.

Candidates successfully completing a principal preparation program shall obtain a principal endorsement and are eligible to work as a principal or assistant principal. (Section 21-7.1 of the School Code; also see 23 Ill. Adm.Code 25.337)

Degree Requirements

The Masters degree in Educational Leadership requires a student to complete 36 credit hours of prescribed coursework. Students who complete the M.Ed. degree in Educational Leadership may earn a principal endorsement on a State of Illinois educator license, a customary requirement to become a principal or assistant principal.

  • MEDU 500 - Mission-Driven Leadership

    MEDU 500 - Mission-Driven Leadership

    4.00 credit hours

    Mission-driven Leadership emphasizes the development of future school leaders, serving as a pre-admission course to either a Masters in Educational Leadership with principal endorsement or Masters of Arts with teacher leader endorsement. Students examine school culture, standards, organizations and the learning community, and the importance of increasing leadership capacity to achieve success in schools today. The course fosters development and competencies in future leaders regarding decisions they will make about their practice and how those decisions impact students, teachers and the community.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 535 - Supervision and Instruction

    MEDU 535 - Supervision and Instruction

    4.00 credit hours

    An examination of the educational leader's role as a facilitator of learning. The primary objective of the course is the development of human resources as integral to achieving school success for students. Content includes exploration of coaching, mentoring, supervision, evaluation, pedagogical inquiry, conflict resolution, critical conversations, professional development and instructional development. The emphasis is on developing the skills of leadership that are required to enhance and extend student learning, including instructional supervision whether as a teacher colleague or supervisor. Candidates in principal preparation are required to participate in training by certified staff in accordance with the provisions of Section 24A-3 of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/24A-3] outside of the course and prior to the Internship.


    MEDU 500.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 536 - School, Home and Community

    MEDU 536 - School, Home and Community

    4.00 credit hours

    School, Home and Community is a course for each aspiring leader to discover and define the administrator's or teacher leader's interactive role and relationship in the school, home and community. Through discussion, interactive exploration, action teams and networking, the student experiences ways to be a collaborative leader within the triad of the school, home and community. Focus is on cultural responsiveness, implicit bias, collaboration, inclusion, partnership-building and fostering community stakeholders.


    MEDU 500.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 610 - Operations and Management

    MEDU 610 - Operations and Management

    4.00 credit hours

    A focus on the use of leadership skills in the management function of the school principal. Students learn about the day-to-day responsibilities as well as the general, longer-term responsibilities of the school principal. Care and maintenance of the school plant, operating the food service program and the principal's role in transporting students are studied. Students study the principal's role in developing and managing a school budget. A focus is also given to writing building level operation and management orientated policies and procedures.


    MEDU 500.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 620 - Curriculum and Program Assessment

    MEDU 620 - Curriculum and Program Assessment

    4.00 credit hours

    Increases the student's understanding of curricular and program assessment, data-driven decision-making and technology as a transformative tool. Students gain an understanding of data collection and analysis and how to use that information in the decision-making process. Using data collected through program assessment, students learn how to formulate effective school improvement plans, impacting instruction and learning. Students also discover technology as a tool for instructional efficacy and program improvement.


    MEDU 500 

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 622 - School Law and Policies

    MEDU 622 - School Law and Policies

    4.00 credit hours

    This course review and analyzes general legal principles, judicial and statutory law and regulatory agencies that impact schools and educational leaders. Relevant federal and state constitutions, statutes and court decisions are examined for their impact upon the responsibilities of teachers, principals, office administrators, superintendents and school board members. Students explore professional ethics, the process and management of litigation, policy development at the district level and the constitutional, statutory and regulatory provisions and accompanying legal issues.


    MEDU 500.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 691 - Educational Internship I

    MEDU 691 - Educational Internship I

    3.00 credit hours

    Provides extensive opportunities for leadership candidates to experience authentic field experiences and leadership development. During the internship, students are required to complete experiences working with all levels of students Pre-K-12, including special education. Internship projects require students to demonstrate proficiency in understanding and developing a school improvement plan, teacher professional development/evaluation and school-wide management of systems and resources. Each project includes a summative evaluation. During the internship experience, students work in partnership with a North Central College faculty supervisor and a field administrator as a mentor. MEDU 691, MEDU 692 and MEDU 693 allow students to complete all year-long internship requirements.


    12 credit hours in M.Ed. Educational Leadership Program and required training; Graduate Coordinator Approval.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 692 - Educational Internship II

    MEDU 692 - Educational Internship II

    3.00 credit hours

    Provides extensive opportunities for leadership candidates to experience authentic field experiences and leadership development. During the internship, students are required to complete experiences working with all levels of students Pre-K-12, including special education. Internship projects require students to demonstrate proficiency in understanding and developing a school improvement plan, teacher professional development/evaluation and school-wide management of systems and resources. Each project includes a summative evaluation. During the internship experience, students work in partnership with a North Central College faculty supervisor and a field administrator as a mentor. MEDU 691, MEDU 692 and MEDU 693 allow students to complete all year-long internship requirements.


    12 credit hours in M.Ed. Educational Leadership Program and required training; Graduate Coordinator Approval.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 693 - Educational Internship Residency

    MEDU 693 - Educational Internship Residency

    2.00 credit hours

    This course helps students apply and extend the field experiences of the internship to an immersive sustained administrative experience. Students serve in a full-time administrative role mentored by a field administrator for a minimum of two weeks full-time or four weeks half-time (approximately 80 hours total). This experience, combined with the year-long internship experience of MEDU 691 and MEDU 692, prepares educational leaders for the daily demands of leadership roles in schools.


    12 credit hours in M.Ed. Educational Leadership Program; Graduate Coordinator Approval.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 696 - Educational Leadership Capstone

    MEDU 696 - Educational Leadership Capstone

    4.00 credit hours

    The capstone experience for the Master of Education in Educational Leadership. It requires the analysis, synthesis and application of all learning and coursework in the program, as well as the graduate's own experiential knowledge. Students are expected to frame contemporary educational issues and provide varied approaches to address those encountered by school administrators. The student develops a personal leadership platform paper and a video of themselves presenting their philosophy with guiding principles for action.


    28 credit hours in the Educational Leadership Program.

    Schedule Of Classes

Master of Education Grants and Scholarships 

Education Alliance Partnership

North Central College has partnered with several businesses and school districts to offer eligible M.Ed. students a 20 percent tuition discount. We invite you to explore the Education Alliance Grant to learn more.


The Kern Family Foundation Cultures of Character Scholarships

The Cultures of Character Scholarship was established thanks to the generosity of the Kern Family Foundation. Annual scholarships will be awarded for 20-40 percent off tuition for select candidates who meet the eligibility criteria.

Scholarship Eligibility

  • Interested candidates must first be accepted to the master of education in educational leadership program.
  • Scholarship applications must be completed prior to beginning the first course in the program.
  • Awards will be considered based primarily on the applicant’s ability to demonstrate:
    • service to an underserved community
    • qualifications as an applicant currently underrepresented in administrative ranks
    • commitment to fostering a culture of character in a PK-12 school setting through demonstrated experiences or expertise

Scholarship Participation

Recipients of the scholarship are expected to:

  • be fully engaged in coursework
  • promote the goals of the scholarship through character development work
  • participate annually in a minimum of two activities sponsored by North Central College to promote the educational leadership program and/or the scholarship and its aforementioned goals

Next Steps

  • More information, including a link to the Cultures of Character Scholarship application, will be provided upon acceptance into the master of education in educational leadership program.
Education Alliance Partners
School District Name Number West40 School District Served Number
Addison School District 4 Bellwood 88
Queen Bee School District 16 Berkeley 87
School District 45 (Villa Park) 45 Berwyn North 98
Schaumburg School District 54 Berwyn South 100
Downers Grove Grade School District 58 Brookfield-LaGrange Park 95
Franklin Park School District 84 Cicero School 99
Lockport School District 91 Elmwood Park 401
Comm. Consolidated School District (Bloomingdale) 93 Forest Park 91
Community H.S. District (West Chicago) 94 Franklin Park School 84
Community H.S. District (Downers Grove) 99 Hillside 93
Lemont Bromberek 113a J.S. Morton High School 201
Manhattan School District 114 Komarek School 94
Yorkville School District 115 La Grange Highlands Schools 106
Jacksonville School District 117 La Grange North School 102
Aurora West School District 129 La Grange South School 105
Aurora East School District 131 Leyden Community High School 212
Plainfield School District 202 Lindop 92
Naperville School District 203 Lyons School 103
Indian Prairie School District 204 Lyons Township 204
Community H.S. District (Oak Lawn) 218 Mannheim School 83
Evergreen Park School District 231 Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview 89
Oswego School District 308 Norridge 80
Valleyview 365U (Bolingbrook) 365u Oak Park & River Forest 200
Oak Park School 97
Pennoyer 79
Pleasantdale 107
Proviso Township High School 209
Rhodes School 84.5
Ridgewood High School 234
River Forest School 90
River Grove School 85.5
Riverside/Brookfield Township 208
Riverside School 96
Rosemont 78
Schiller Park 81
Union Ridge School 86
Westchester School 92.5
Western Springs School 101
Midwest Principals Center Number School District Number
Alsip/Hazelgreen/Oak Lawn School District 126 Midlothian School District 143
Aptakisic-Tripp Comm Cons School District 102 Mt. Prospect School District 57
Arlington Heights School District 25 Mundelein School District 75
Barrington Community School District 220 New Trier Township High School District 203
Beecher School District 200U Norridge School District 80
Berkeley School District 87 North Palos School District 117
Berwyn South School District 100 North Shore School District 112
Bloomingdale School District 13 Northbrook School District 28
Cary Community Consolidated School Dist 26 Northbrook/Glenview School District 30
Community Consolidated School District 15 Bellwood School District 88
Community Consolidated School District 21 Chicago Ridge School District 127.5
Community Consolidated School District 59 DeKalb Community Unit School District 428
Community Consolidated School District 93 East Maine School District 63
Community Consolidated School District 181 ECHO Joint Agreement
Community High School District 128 Lake Bluff School District 65
Community High School District 155 Naperville CUSD 203
Community High School District 218 Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization (NSSEO) 805
Consolidated High School District 230 Oak Grove School District 68
Deerfield School District 109 Oak Lawn School District 123
Des Plaines School District 62 Palos School District 118
DuPage County School District 45 Park Ridge-Niles School District 64
Elmhurst School District 205 Plainfield CCSD 202
Glen Ellyn Community Cons School District 89 Pleasantdale School District 107
Glen Ellyn School District 41 Prairie Hills School District 144
Glenbrook High School District 225 Prospect Heights School District 23
Glencoe School District 35 Queen Bee School District 16
Grayslake Community High School District 127 River Trails School District 26
Harvard Community Unit School District 50 Schaumburg School District 54
Hillside School District 93 Schiller Park School District 81
Hinsdale Township High School District 86 School Association for Sp. Ed. in DuPage
Indian Prairie School District 204 Skokie School District 68
Kildeer Countryside School District 96 Skokie School District 69
LaGrange School District 105 Skokie School District 73.5
Lake Forest Elementary School District 67 St. Charles Community School District 303
Lake Forest High School District 115 Township High School District 113
Lake Villa School District 41 Township High School District 211
Lincolnwood School District 74 Township High School District 214
Lisle School District 202 Wauconda Community School District 118
Lockport Township High School District 205 Wilmette School District 39
Lombard Elementary School District 44 Winnetka School District 36
Maine Township High School District 207 Wood Dale School District 7
Mannheim School District 83 Woodridge School District 68
Marquardt School District 15 Worth School District 127
McHenry High School District 156 Yorkville Community Unit School District 115
Bruce Spitzer

Professor of Education; Chairperson, Department of Education
+1 630 637 5738
Kathleen King

Associate Professor of Education
+1 630 637 5107
Maureen Spelman

Visiting Professor of Education; Coordinator of Character Initiatives
Academic Affairs
+1 630 637 5735
Our faculty commitment to Cultures of Character...
Bruce Spitzer 

With a light heart and a servant’s perspective, Dr. Spitzer seeks to empower the work of individuals and groups that value learning, seek justice, and promote equality and success for all. He considers himself a teacher at heart, a teacher educator by calling, and technology-using professional by training. He enjoys working with people who are dedicated to creating tomorrow's teachers, school professionals, and community leaders who will make a difference in the world. Bruce believes our work with character development provides North Central College with a framework and a vocabulary to put into words the deeply held beliefs and dispositions we teachers and teacher educators have long known in our hearts. Schools are about more than the content we teach: we work to develop the whole child into a virtuous citizen who can contribute to building a better world.

Kathleen B. King

Driven to facilitate the realization of others’ potential, Kathleen is deeply committed to character and leadership development through the fostering of school cultures centered on core virtues.  In her teaching, she is dedicated to assuring professionals in the classroom and administrative ranks are committed to opportunity and equity, skilled in cultivating stakeholders of common mission, dedicated to fostering flourishing communities, and adept at facilitating growth towards our greatest potential.

Maureen V. Spelman

The overarching vision that has guided Dr. Spelman’s journey as a professional educator has been one of ensuring that all children have access to a high-quality learning environment. Her belief that the school leader is the keystone in that vision led her to the NCC Educational Leadership program. Dr. Spelman values and strives to integrate moral, ethical, servant, transformational, and visionary leadership styles into her work. She is committed to a path of personal life-long development focused on the character strengths/virtues of courage, strength, patience, wisdom, dignity, grace, kindness, and compassion.

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