May 25, 2024  
2023-2025 Catalog Volume XXXI Ver 1 
2023-2025 Catalog Volume XXXI Ver 1

Teacher Leadership in Schools, EdS


The South College School of Education offers an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in Teacher Leadership in Schools (TLIS) degree program. This graduate program is designed for those qualified individuals who wish to advance their professional teacher leadership knowledge and skills critical for developing understanding of teacher inquiry, data coaching essentials, and professional development designed to meet school needs. The program requires satisfactory completion of 45 total quarter credit hours and is designed to be delivered in three consecutive quarters or nine (9) months for a full-time student. Part-time students may enroll in one class per quarter. Admission to this program may occur in each quarter of the year.

The Ed.S. Program in Teacher Leadership in Schools curriculum extends in-service candidates’ knowledge, skills, dispositions and commitments to the study of effective leadership practices at the school level. Coursework develops in-service candidates’ understanding of practitioner inquiry into actual practice through the development of a research question, a review of literature, and a research proposal as a vehicle for improving student achievement. Coursework further engages in-service candidates in the study of evidenced-based leadership practices that transform low-performing schools into effective schools and in the study of effective professional development practices aimed at raising student achievement and teacher knowledge and skill. Coursework also focuses on data coach training that includes understanding of the learning environment and how to analyze the various sources of data. This training establishes the ability to determine causes and effects from problems evidenced in the data along with the development of a monitoring plan. The third quarter program capstone requires presentations addressing the research proposal, the data coach school monitoring plan, and a professional development plan.

The Educational Specialist in Teacher Leadership in Schools program meets state and professional standards and supports local, regional, and national employment needs.

Program Purpose and Candidate Learner Outcomes

The purpose of the Educational Specialist Program in Teacher Leadership in Schools is to develop the knowledge, skills, commitments, and professional dispositions of in-service candidates to become exceptional teacher leaders at the school and/or district levels who advocate inquiry for self and all members of the learning community as a tool for continuous learning; who embrace diversity and advocate tolerance; who exhibit ethical behaviors; who exemplify integrity and fairness; who can think systemically; who can work independently and collaboratively; who exercise wise communication; and, extol the belief that all students can learn.

In accordance with CAEP Standards, candidates completing the Teacher Leadership in Schools program will accomplish the following learner outcomes:

  1. demonstrate a commitment to inquiry that results in the use and generation of research.
  2. demonstrate content and professional knowledge and skill that supports the success of all students.
  3. demonstrate professional dispositions and commitments.
  4. engage in assessment practices that assure the continuous growth of self and all students.
  5. utilize technology to ensure learning of all students and to advance professional growth of self and the learning community.
  6. work independently and collaboratively to support the success of all students.
  7. demonstrate professional communications skills.

Ed.S. candidates participate in multiple assessments while enrolled in coursework over three consecutive quarters. Ed.S. candidates demonstrate achievement of learner outcomes from various graduate assessments in all courses.

Application, Admission and Program Completion Requirements

According to state and national standards, assessments must occur throughout a program of study to inform candidates of their progress. Ed.S. assessments begin with pre-entry admission assessment, continue throughout the program with quarterly course assessments and summative assessments, and end with quarterly monitoring of cumulative grade point averages and individual course grades.

Admission Requirements

Applicants interested in the Ed.S. Teacher Leadership in Schools program are required to confer with an admissions representative to discuss all program requirements. It is expected that all applicants will present a strong level of interest for teacher leadership in their school and demonstrate high capability for program success by satisfying admission requirements that include the following:

  • completed online South College application;
  • official transcripts from each regionally accredited institution of higher education attended for earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees;
  • evidence of active teaching license(s);
  • two completed recommendation forms from employers and/or professors who know professional work ethic;
  • evidence of a minimum overall GPA of 3.00 for master’s degree;

Applicants interested in the Educational Specialist Teacher Leadership in Schools program should be aware that all courses in the curriculum are required and must be completed at South College. The Ed.S. program does not grant transfer credits, experiential learning, or advanced placement from another institution’s program.

South College seeks to make available all online programs/courses to residents of Tennessee and other states, and to allow completion of required clinical or practical experiences in those states. We work through the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) process and with states directly to ensure that when authorization or licensure is necessary, required approvals are secured. Tennessee is a member of SARA and South College is an approved SARA institution. As such, we adhere to a set of national standards for interstate offering of post-secondary distance education courses and programs. SARA also covers all interstate placements in clinical or practical situations among SARA member states, no matter the nature of the main program. However, not all states are SARA members. While we do monitor the laws in each state, authorization of distance education is a dynamic environment and prospective students should check this site often for updates. It is the student’s responsibility to understand current circumstances or special requirements in their state of residence.

Upon successful completion of all program requirements, candidates are recommended for graduation and for conferring of the Educational Specialist degree. South College and the School of Education reserve the right to make necessary program changes as impacted by CAEP Standards and other TN DOE mandates.

Upon review of all required documents, the Dean of the School of Education (SOE) may admit the prospective individual to the Ed.S. Teacher Leadership in Schools Program with:

  1. Full Admission - the candidate has met all required criteria for admission to the Ed.S. Program.
  2. Provisional Admission - the candidate has not met all required criteria for admission to the Ed.S. Program but has been cleared to begin coursework for quarter one. The candidate receives from the designated SOE Advisor written confirmation of deficiencies that must be removed to advance to quarter two.

Acceptance to enroll in the Ed.S. Teacher Leadership in Schools Program is not synonymous with formal admission to the program. To be formally admitted to the Educational Specialist Program, the candidate must complete the first quarter of courses, earn a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better with no course grade lower than a B. Formal admission typically occurs at the end of the first quarter prior to advancement to the second quarter of coursework.

Professional Licensure

This program is not normally an academic program that requires additional professional licensure other than the teaching license required for admission to the program. However, not all states have the same requirements. It is highly recommended that you first seek guidance from the appropriate licensing agency in your home state BEFORE beginning the academic program located outside your state. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the appropriate licensing board in his/her home state to confirm whether a South College program will meet the requirements for licensure in that state.

Information Specific to Alabama Residents: Educator Preparation Programs: State authorization to provide a program related to the preparation of teachers or other P-12 school/system personnel does not indicate eligibility for an Alabama certificate. Applicants who complete an educator preparation program at an institution outside of Alabama must apply for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate through the Alabama Certificate Reciprocity Approach. Current requirements may be found at

Academic Standards, Candidate Progress, and Grading

Upon entering the graduate program, candidates are encouraged to confer with their SOE Advisor as needed. Candidates’ academic progress is monitored each quarter to ensure a cumulative GPA of 3.00, or better, with no grade lower than a B in each course. The SOE Advisor oversees each candidate’s academic record for all coursework at the end of each quarter and candidates not eligible for progression to the next quarter will be notified. If a candidate voluntarily withdraws from the program, a formal application for re-entry is required and program requirements in effect at that time must be met.

Candidate deficiencies that may impact academic standing, which may include warning, probation, or dismissal from the program, are monitored by the SOE Advisor.

Categories of Academic Standing for Ed.S. Candidates are:

  • Good Standing: Status of a candidate who has met academic requirements in a satisfactory manner.
  • Warning: Status of a candidate whose academic performance places him/her in jeopardy of falling below the minimum stated grade of B on any course assessment during the quarter.
  • Probation: This status is not an option for candidates in the Ed.S. program. Should a candidate’s academic performance fall below the minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 and/or course grade(s) are lower than a B at the end of the quarter as established by the SOE dismissal from the Ed.S. program results. A candidate experiencing this situation would need to seek readmission to the program. A candidate is allowed only one readmission to the Ed.S. program.
  • Dismissal: Action whereby a candidate will be dismissed from the Ed.S. program due to failure to adhere to academic and program requirements and/or policies or procedures as specified in the South College Catalog, the South College Student Handbook, and the Graduate Program Handbook. The SOE Advisor recommends dismissal and forwards the recommendation to the SOE Dean who after approval forwards the recommendation to the Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement and Effectiveness.

The causes of and consequences for receiving a Warning, Probation, or Dismissal are:


A candidate who receives a grade of less than B on any course assignment during the quarter receives a warning that work has not met minimum performance and that dismissal from program is possible if the cumulative GPA falls below 3.00 or if a course grade lower than a B occurs at the end of the quarter.


Action whereby a candidate will be dismissed from the Educational Specialist in Teacher Leadership in Schools program due to failure to adhere to academic and program requirements and/or policies or procedures as specified in the Graduate Program Handbook, the South College Student Handbook, and/or the South College Catalog.

  • A candidate fails (a grade below B) in any course;
  • A candidate has a cumulative GPA of less than 3.00 at the end of any quarter;
  • A candidate fails to meet professional standards as reflected in the Graduate Program Handbook, South College Student Handbook, South College Catalog, state or federal law, or for moral turpitude, unprofessional behavior, criminal activity, or other reasons as defined by South College;
  • South College reserves the right to dismiss at any time a candidate who, in its judgment, is undesirable and whose continued enrollment is detrimental to him/herself or his/her fellow candidates or whose presence is disruptive to the learning environment, or the orderly operation of the College.


Course instructors determine the final grade in all courses. Grades are based on the requirements of each course, attendance and participation, and a culminating project that serves as the final examination for all courses. Examples of assignments are written assignments, practitioner inquiry, presentations with use of technology, reading assignments, discussion forums, dispositions and commitments journals, action plan for advocacy growth assignments, professional learning community weekly meetings, personal profiles of performance records, self-assessments, and tasks for each course. The weight or value of assignments is found on the course syllabus.

Letter Grade Q.P. Percentage Score Range
A 4.00 90-100%
B 3.00 80-89%

Candidates must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.00, or better, with no course grade lower than a B to remain in the Ed.S. graduate program.

Graduation Requirements

In order for a student to graduate from a graduate level program in the School of Education, the student must be in a good academic and professional standing, have had satisfactory progress in all quarters of the academic program, and satisfactorily complete the following:

  1. Successfully complete the required quarter credit hours of academic course work.
  2. Evidence a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or above for the required coursework.
  3. Achieve a letter grade of “B” or better in all academic courses.
  4. Complete all required South College and Program documents in preparation for graduation.
  5. Honor all professional and financial obligations to South College.

South College reserves the right, and the student, by the act of matriculation, concedes to give South College the right to require withdrawal at any time the college deems it necessary to safeguard the standards of scholarship, conduct, and compliance with regulations, or for such other reasons deemed appropriate by South College as set forth in the South College Student Handbook and/or the South College Catalog.

Candidate Grievance Process

If a candidate wishes to make a formal complaint to deviate from established Graduate Education Policies as stated in the South College Catalog, the South College Student Handbook, and/or the Graduate Program Handbook, the candidate is encouraged to discuss his/her concern with the Graduate Program Chair. If satisfaction cannot be attained at this level, and the candidate wants to make his/her concern official, he/she must complete a Candidate Grievance Form. Every effort will be made to resolve the concern at the SOE level. If the grievance cannot be resolved at the SOE level, the candidate would assume responsibility for following the College’s grievance process outlined in the current South College Student Handbook available in the Director of Student Affairs office and on the student portal.

The EdS Teacher Leadership in Schools degree program is currently offered Online.