Master of Arts in Educational Leadership

Earn Your MAEL

For more than 40 years, North Park’s School of Education has prepared competent, respectful, reflective educators to meet the needs of students in a complex, evolving world. We designed our Master of Arts in Educational Leadership (MAEL) for licensed teachers who wish to become principals or teacher leaders in Illinois schools. You’ll gain a foundation in educational leadership skills through hands-on learning experiences and graduate prepared to be a leader in education.

Choose Principal or Teacher Leader Endorsement Tracks

North Park offers two tracks for MAEL students. In the principal track, you’ll hone the skills needed to excel as a principal, vice principal, or assistant principal. The teacher leader track equips teachers who want to serve as deans, athletic directors, curriculum specialists, or department chairs. You’ll select your track after completing four introductory courses with your cohort.

Those who complete the teacher leader track can return to North Park to complete the principal endorsement courses and clinical experiences.

Alumni Profile: Starr Caldwell

North Park has a solid history of preparing principals and administrators for success in Illinois schools. Starr Caldwell earned a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership. She selected North Park University because its programs offer flexibility, convenience, and rigor.

“I didn’t know it then, but I am confident that I made one of the best decisions of my life when choosing to pursue my Master of Arts in Educational Leadership at North Park. The professors facilitate authentically, sharing real-world experiences—things you can’t learn from a book. I have also learned management strategies in a safe, respectful, and equitable classroom environment, which have equipped me with the necessary skills to engage in critical thinking and effectively communicate in a leadership role.”

Clinical Experience

Preparing for a career as a principal or teacher leader requires more than just a classroom education. With the help of North Park’s faculty and your own school administrators, you’ll complete a series of field-based experiences specific to your own goals. You’ll gain valuable experience in the wide range of administrative tasks that you’ll face in a school setting, with supervision and support to help you integrate your coursework and fieldwork into your own career.

Personalized Attention from the Start

Our School of Education is dedicated to helping you achieve your career goals, offering you personal admissions counseling and program advising from the very beginning. Our two-step admissions process to this program begins by admitting you to an introductory course in educational leadership. During this class, your professors will assist you in developing an admissions portfolio for phase two of the process, which demonstrates that you can meet the requirements for the State of Illinois principal or teacher leader endorsement upon completion of the degree program.

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Convenient for Full-Time Teachers

The MAEL is designed to work with your teaching career. Classes are held on Saturdays at our main campus in Chicago, which is easily accessible by car or public transportation, or on Wednesdays at our campus in Arlington Heights. You can complete this master’s degree program in 22 months while you continue working full-time as a teacher.


  • Hybrid (50/50 online and in-person)
  • Synchronous
  • Saturdays

Arlington Heights

  • Hybrid (50/50 online and in-person)
  • Synchronous
  • Wednesdays 4–8pm


  • Remote
  • Synchronous
  • Day and time TBD

Faculty Spotlight:
Professor Daniel Walsh

Professor Walsh is passionate about supporting his students as growing leaders and servants to their community. “Our core values are what makes us strong, and we need to embrace our values and our faith to endure the daily challenges of being a leader.”

MORE ABOUT Professor WAlsh


Scholarships and Tuitions

North Park offers generous scholarship and grant options, including a discount for Chicago Public School teachers and employees and an Alumni Grant for new graduate students who earned their bachelor’s degree at North Park.

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Cohort Model

The School of Education uses a cohort model that allows graduate students to learn with like-minded peers. You’ll start with a cohort in your first fall term and have the same classmates throughout your degree program, helping you develop close relationships that will last into your professional career. You’ll graduate with a network of colleagues who can support you as a teacher, even as you find jobs in different districts.