Educational Leadership

College of Education

Preparing Leaders to Improve Student Learning

The Educational Leadership specialization at WSU Tri-Cities offers aspiring educational leaders a variety of graduate education programs appropriate for leaders at every stage of their career — from classroom teachers seeking new leadership roles to practicing administrators seeking professional development.

This specialization is offered at both the master’s (Ed.M.) and doctoral (Ed.D.) levels, as well as administrator certification programs for principals, superintendents, and program administrators at one of the nation’s leading land-grant research universities. The Educational Leadership specialization serves educators throughout Washington State with program offerings at all WSU campuses (Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities and Vancouver). The program provides a balance of practical experience, research, and theory to prepare practitioner-scholars for leadership positions or for continued study and research in the field of Educational Leadership.

Application Deadlines

Applicants are encouraged to apply by the priority deadline for the start term of interest, as shown below. Applications are considered on a space available basis through the close date for each term. If necessary, please contact for a possible extension.

Application Deadlines for the Ed.M. and Administrator Certification Programs

  • Fall term start: Priority deadline is June 1; close date is July 1
  • Spring term start: Priority deadline is October 1; close date is November 1
  • Summer term start: Priority deadline is March 1; close date is April 1

Application Deadline for the Ed.D.

  • Fall term only: Priority deadline is February 15; close date is July 1

Unique program features include:

  • A flexible program that supports students in a diverse, professional learning community
  • Full-time faculty who are recognized as leading practitioners and scholars in the field of education
  • Small-classes designed to provide personalized instruction and individualized mentoring
  • Classes offered at convenient times and in formats that support working professionals
  • Courses that can be used toward completion of the Statewide Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Click on the program below to learn more!

Master of Education (Ed.M.)

Program overview

The Ed.M. is a non-thesis program for K-12 educational professionals. Course schedules allow full-time students to complete the Ed.M. degree in approximately two years. The program delivers the world-class instruction you expect from a major university with small classes and personalized attention only available at an urban campus. Students have the option of taking courses in a variety of instructional formats delivered through the Statewide Educational Leadership Program.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

Experienced. Expert. Equity-driven.

Earn your doctorate from Washington’s premiere Ed.D. program. Learn from faculty with more than 30 years of experience and be networked to hundreds of alumni transforming education across the state and nation.


The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership prepares practitioner-scholars for effective and meaningful leadership in a variety of educational settings. Course instructors are highly experienced school professionals and nationally recognized academic scholars. Program content is practical and scholarly; it blends issues important to practicing educational leaders with scholarship that analyzes and addresses these issues. Post coursework, students produce a dissertation that studies and addresses a contemporary problem of practice in K-20 schools.

For more information about this program at Tri-Cities, including how to apply, please contact Jennifer Gallagher at and visit the state-wide Ed.D. program webpage.

Administrator Certification Programs

The Field-Based Principal, Field-Based Program Administrator and Field-Based Superintendent programs at WSU Tri-Cities balance practical experience, theory and research to help you prepare for leadership in the world of education.

Field-Based Principal or Program Administrator Certification

This innovative, streamlined program offers you the best possible training to become a Principal or Program Administrator, as well as a network of colleagues and mentors who will help you. This certification program was designed by an Advisory Committee of working administrators and scholars, is taught by highly successful administrators and WSU faculty. Thus, the WSU Tri-Cities Educational Leadership Program offers the best of both worlds: current, practical knowledge and skills along with high-quality academic courses.

Principal or Program Administrator Certification + Ed.M. in Educational Leadership

A Master’s degree is required for Principal or Program Administrator Certification. We offer the Master of Education (Ed.M.) degree in conjunction with our Principal or Program Administrator Certification program for those students who still need their master’s degree. Adding the master’s degree requires additional coursework (typically 3 additional courses) as well as a comprehensive written examination.

Field-Based Superintendent Certification

The program is based upon a two-year internship completed in conjunction with a series of 16 weekend seminars held at various locations around the state. These monthly seminars provide an opportunity for interaction between program participants, faculty, and a variety of guest speakers with expertise in relevant leadership positions. WSU faculty provide background in traditional leadership content areas and relevant educational research. An electronic network also provides a venue for continuous learning activities and discussions. The program is based at WSU Spokane with classes available at WSU Tri-Cities. Learn more.

Application process

For more information about the program and application process, please contact Dr. Kathleen Cowin ( or the academic coordinator, Niamh O’Leary at

Note: Programs in Educational Leadership (EdM, MA, principal certification, superintendent certification, EdD and PHD) do not accept state tuition waivers.

Meet our faculty

Kathleen Cowin
Kathleen CowinAssociate Professor (Career Track), Ed LeadershipFloyd 207XKathleen Cowin, Associate Professor (CT), received her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Seattle University. Her research focuses on the development of effective relational co-mentoring practices for educational leader formation and the creation of co-mentoring circles among current and former educational leadership students. Kathleen served as a teacher and elementary and middle school principal for over 25 years and also completed her Superintendent Certification. Learn more.
photo of John Mancinelli
John MancinelliField Services DirectorFloyd 207OJohn Mancinelli, Ed.D., Scholarly Associate Professor, joined Washington State University Tri-Cities as Chief of Staff and Operations in July 2014. Dr. Mancinelli has 26 years of experience in teaching and educational leadership. Dr. Mancinelli brings a deep understanding of Washington State’s educational system, organizational structures, and management best practices. His experience in both teaching and administering in public schools from kindergarten to university contribute to his courses and mentorship.

Dr. Mancinelli serves as Educational Leadership and Teaching & Learning faculty to the College of Education. He teaches educational leadership and Teaching & Learning courses to undergraduates, masters, and doctoral students. Additionally, Dr. Mancinelli advises, mentors, and sits on committees for masters and doctoral students. Dr. Mancinelli’s area of scholarship focus includes educational leadership and role theory as it relates to building academic capacity. Learn more.

photo of Niamh O
Niamh O'LearyGraduate School Coordinator
College of Education Academic Support Staff

Meet our graduates

Tina Brewer
Principal Certificate

“WSU Tri-Cities gave me the ability to connect and learn from leaders in neighboring districts and across the state and gave me the belonging I was looking for. The strongest part of my program experience was the collaborative learning environment with my cohort and professors. I graduated with the ability to impact teaching and learning at the building and classroom level and benefited from professors helping me understand and prepare for the job application and interview process.”

Jacob Davis
EdM in Ed Leadership and Principal Certificate

“This program forced me to think about who I am as a person and how to utilize that to become an effective leader. Open and honest discussions are fundamental to the experience in the program and were essential in developing me as an educational leader. My goal has always been to help all students and this program enabled me to do so while qualifying me for multiple leadership positions in different types of schools and programs.”

Enid Flynn
Program Administrator Certificate

“The instructors are accessible, inspirational, and understanding of the lives of adult learners outside of class time. The opportunity to invest in myself and my learning while maintaining family balance was very important to me. The program provided space and opportunity to explore who I am and my core values, and encouraged me to be the kind of leader I wanted to be. The Program Administrator credential program immediately opened new doors for me; I utilize what I learned on a daily basis.”

Michelle Smith
Principal Certificate and Doctor of Education

“WSU Tri-Cities combined the convenience of course offerings that suited my work schedule with the rigor of a program that challenged my thinking as an active educational practitioner. It is a flexible program that supports the academic learning needed for degree/certificate completion as well as the professional growth of students participating in the program.”

Anna Marie Dufault
Principal Certificate

“I became a principal because I was ready for a career challenge and wanted to impact students, staff, and families in a meaningful and lasting way. I knew I would benefit from learning together with classmates and I am so appreciative of all the perspectives and experiences they generously shared with me. The program was structured so that I could continue to work full time and still obtain my principal certificate. I believe this program is one of the finest in the state. As a result of it I was able to step in and confidently lead a building from day one.”

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