Program Overview

Educational Specialist (Ed.S.)
Department Chair Name
George Lipscomb
Program Coordinator
Vernon Prosser

What is an educational specialist?

An Ed.S. is a post-master’s degree program for experienced scholars and leaders in the education field who seek to develop their potential and competencies and who are committed to improving PK-12 education both within their organizations and beyond. The Ed.S. prepares educators to lead at the district level as superintendents or assistant superintendents (with the educational leadership track), or in individual schools as principals or assistant principals (with the school leadership track).

Why pursue an Ed.S. at Furman?

The Ed.S. in Educational Leadership or School Leadership prepares graduates to lead in our school districts and schools, strengthen our communities and equip diverse learners for tomorrow’s challenges. Furman offers a curriculum that allows you to secure your Ed.S. without interrupting your current teaching or administrative role. Learn from some of the most respected professors and practitioners in education. Our faculty have been there. They’ve served years, often decades, in the leadership roles you are looking to pursue – who better to help you navigate your career goals in education? Learn more about graduate studies in education and how to apply.

How will you learn?

Reputable and rigorous, our program aims to grow leaders who are able to bring about transformational change, in addition to equipping graduates with the expertise for leadership roles in the district, and the day-to-day operations involved in running a school.

Unlike many leadership programs that provide only a semester-long stretch of practical experience, the Ed.S. at Furman includes a yearlong practicum.

In the educational leadership track (track 1) you’ll work with practicing superintendents to learn what’s involved in managing a school district – how to work with principals, curriculum coordinators, assistant superintendents, and facilities maintenance personnel. You’ll gain expertise about school board policy and policy-making, district-level budgeting and how to traverse the superintendent and school board member relationship to accomplish school and district goals. The educational leadership track also covers community relations and how to leverage support for the district from local business stakeholders.

In the school leadership track (track 2) you’ll experience it all. From closing out a school year to opening a new one, and everything in between, candidates will develop a budget, build a master schedule, provide teacher feedback, oversee state testing, manage after-school programs, gain insights into school-community relations and more. You’ll emerge from the experience with the skills, know-how and confidence you need to take the next step in your career.


Ed.S. courses: What will you study?

Sample courses for Track 1, Educational Leadership, and Track 2, School Leadership, include (in order):

  • 96%
    Teacher retention rate for Furman education graduates within five years, compared to 50% nationally
  • 66
    Furman education graduates who are named “teacher of the year” over the last five years
  • 100+
    Years the Department of Education has prepared teachers and administrators

What our students say

“Furman’s school leadership program is a rigorous program of study that I highly recommend to aspiring administrators. The program intentionally exposes students to skilled professors and situations that will broaden their views and strengthen them as educators. Much of the confidence I gained as a school leader can be directly related to the Furman faculty and their school leadership programs. I am appreciative of the Furman staff because they always supported me, encouraged me, and most of all, believed in me.”
– Kory Roberts M’02, Ed.S.’13, principal, Westside High School, Anderson School District 5

Our faculty

Harris Heath

Professor, Education; School Leadership and Administration

Vernon L. Prosser

Coordinator, Upstate Schools Consortium; School Leadership Clinical Faculty
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Educational Specialist F.A.Q.