Director of Special Education and Pupil Services Licensure

The Director of Special Education and Pupil Services Licensure program equips students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to serve as Directors of Special Education and Pupil Services. The program is a 12-credit strand with courses in special education law, special education instructional leadership, and special education and pupil services program administration. These credits, along with leadership and mentorship opportunities with special education administrators, prepare students to excel as Directors of Special Education and Pupil Services. The program is also aligned with the Wisconsin Administrator Standards (#10) and the Director of Special Education and Pupil Services (#80) Content Standards.

This program is available to experienced educators and/or educational leaders who hold a master's degree in educational leadership, psychology, special education, counseling or another related field. Candidates who do not have an educational leadership degree from an approved university may need to complete additional educational leadership coursework (up to 12 credits). Coursework requirements will be determined upon a review of the candidate's transcripts. 


Courses Are Available


Program Details

●  View Tuition and Fees
Council of Exceptional Children National Standards for Advanced Preparation

CECSEA 1 Assessment- Special education specialists understand educational assessment and evaluation, and possess skills in the implementation of assessment practices that minimize bias and are reliable and valid.

CECSEA 2 Curricular Content Knowledge- Special education specialists use their knowledge of general and specialized curricula content to improve supports and services at classroom, school, and system levels

CECSEA 3 Improving Supports and Services: Special education specialists facilitate the continuous improvement of general and special education supports and services at the classroom, school, and system levels for individuals with exceptionalities.

CEC SEA 4 Research and Inquiry: Special education specialists conduct, evaluate, and use inquiry to guide professional practice.

CEC SEA 5 Leadership & Policy: Special education specialists provide leadership to formulate goals, set and meet high professional expectations, advocate for evidence based policies and practices, and create positive and productive work environments.

CEC SEA 6 Professional and Ethical Practices- Special education specialists use foundational knowledge of the field and the profession’s ethical principles and practice standards to inform their special education practice, engage in lifelong learning, advance the profession, and have leadership responsibilities for promoting the success of professional colleagues, individuals with exceptionalities, and their families.

CEC SEA 7 Collaboration- Special education specialists apply their consultative and collaborative skills among both internal and external stakeholders to improve outcomes and services for individuals with exceptionalities and their families.

Application Process and Requirements

Academic and Professional Requirements

Prior Education

  • A master's degree from an accredited college or university in an education-related field.
  • A grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale in master’s coursework is required, but a lower GPA may be considered on an individual basis. 
  • An Administrator license, master’s degree in Educational Leadership, or
  • Satisfy the leadership core competencies requirement through Cardinal Stritch University by completing the following 12 credits. These courses can be completed prior to or concurrently with the Director of Pupil Services coursework.
    • EDU 571: Introduction to Leadership: 4 credits
    • EDU 573: Leading Complex Systems: 4 credits
    • EDU 575: Leading Organizational Development: 4 credits

Professional Requirements

To qualify for the Director of Special Education and Pupil Services license, candidates must have:

  • A valid (or eligibility to hold) Professional Educator License in teaching or pupil services
  • Three years of successful full-time classroom teaching experience, or three years of successful experience as a pupil services professional including 540 hours of classroom teaching experience

Admissions Application and Transcripts

Complete the Admissions Application
  • Submit the admissions application which is free to complete online. Applications for this program are reviewed on a rolling basis so allow sufficient time before the start of your program to be considered for admission.

Request Transcripts
  • Have official transcripts from each college or university you attended delivered directly to the Office of Admissions. Cardinal Stritch University alumni and current students should inquire with the admission counselor about locating transcripts already on file.
  • Transcripts from institutions outside of the United States require a course-by-course evaluation with GPA. Request the official report from ECE or WES to be sent directly to the Office of Admissions. Allow time for the evaluation to be completed since it could take up to 4-6 weeks to be created.

Two Attitude and Disposition Questionnaires

Attitude and disposition questionnaires should be completed by two individuals. Your building principal or department leader should complete one, and another individual who can comment on your professional leadership abilities should complete the other.

Personal Essay

A one to two page essay addressing the following prompts:

  • Describe your leadership philosophy.
  • Describe your reason for seeking admission to the program.

Send Application Materials to Admissions

Submit the application online and have additional materials sent to:

Cardinal Stritch University
Graduate Admissions
6801 N. Yates Road, #516
Milwaukee, WI  53217-3985

Funding Your Education

Stritch is competitively priced to help students complete certificate and licensure programs. Counselors in our Financial Aid Office know how to help students identify all options available for funding their education.

Alumni Network

More than 38,000 Stritch alumni are recognized worldwide for their leadership roles in businesses, health care organizations, corporations, educational institutions, entrepreneurial ventures and non-profit organizations. Responsive to the needs of their communities, Stritch graduates are critical thinkers, ethical decision-makers and lifelong learners.

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