Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee embody a wide range of different cultures and perspectives. From the rich farms and rolling hills of the Bluegrass State down to the jazz and Creole culture of Alabama, each state in the East South Central region of the U.S. has a distinct and fascinating way of life and learning.
Those differences show up in some painful ways too, unfortunately, with some significant achievement disparities. Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee have some of the highest graduation rates in the nation. Yet despite that, Alabama ranks near the bottom of EdWeek’s 2021 educational achievement list, while Mississippi lags behind national averages in every metric according in the Nation’s Report Card, published by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
School systems across the board in the East South Central region are clearly in need of some talent at the top to get kids on track and on the road to a more promising future.
And if you’re looking to develop the unique level of leadership skills it takes to get the job done, then you’re looking at getting the very best graduate-level training in educational leadership.
You Owe it to Your Community to Get the Best Educational Leadership Degree You Can find
As an administrator, you’ll be helping those kids and the communities they’re growing up in build a better education system for tomorrow. It’s a hefty responsibility that will rest on your shoulders. Being prepared starts by choosing a top-quality university to attend for your graduate degree.
And that’s exactly what you will find at any one of the schools on our list. Every single one of them is an elite private school, offering the type of uncompromising education you would expect. And each of them offers you a real chance at developing your individual potential, preparing you to change the game for students and faculty in this part of the country.
You can see exactly how we put the list together here.
All of these schools are local—you’ll get an education focused on what’s happening in your state, with experts from your neck of the woods. And as importantly, you’ll also get the administrator-prep coursework you need to qualify for licensing as a principal or superintendent, not to mention on-the-ground experience in the very same area schools where you’ll continue working as an administrator.
Editor’s Choice for the Best Educational Leadership Administrator Prep Master’s Programs in the East South Central Region
MA in Educational Leadership (online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $12,580
Union College’s MA in Educational Leadership offers top-notch convenience for aspiring educational leaders and administrators! Offered through a fully online format, this program allows busy, practicing educators to prepare for building- and district-level positions while studying from the comfort of their home. Outstanding support and guidance here and 24/7 tech support are just some of the ways Union College ensures a superb learning experience for its online students.
MEd in Educational Leadership (on-campus, online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $25,668
Whether online or on-campus study is right for you, Mississippi College’s MEd in Educational Leadership has everything today’s aspiring principals and superintendents are searching for! Featuring a cohesive, sequential structure that’s marked by problem-based and problem-centered learning activities, this exciting course of graduate study comes complete with outstanding opportunities to work closely with program mentors who are also practicing school leaders. This cohort-based course of study also features seven-week courses for maximum convenience!
MEd in Instructional Leadership (low-residency)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $24,840
Cumberland University’s MEd in Instructional Leadership prepares students for the Tennessee Administrator License and to become transformational school leaders who deftly improve instructional capacity and student achievement. This 30-credit course of graduate study is focused on educational leadership, legal and diversity issues, and data assessment and is offered in a low-residency format that features a blend of online coursework and four Saturday campus meetings per semester. On-campus study provides students with exciting opportunities to connect with their instructors, network with colleagues, and engage in face-to-face learning, while the online courses provide unmatched convenience and flexibility for busy, working educators. Whether you’re studying on-campus or online, you’ll be led by an esteemed faculty, many of whom are current administrators in partnering school districts!
MEd in Educational Leadership (on-campus, hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $34,308
A clear winner! Lipscomb University’s MEd in Educational Leadership, which is part of the famed College of Education (recognized as one of the top educator programs in both the state and in the nation), offers an exciting, flexible pathway to Tennessee’s Instructional Leader License. Students of this program enjoy authentic learning experiences led by expert practitioners in education. Each student is paired with a school-based mentor who oversees job-shadowing sessions. Explore character development, business acumen, conflict management, and more through this highly engaging course of graduate study!
MEd in Educational Leadership (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $32,940
The MEd in Educational Leadership through Lee University offers a robust course of graduate study for aspiring educational administrators and leaders in Tennessee! Grounded in the Christian faith and offered as a traditional, on-campus program, this 36-credit program provides today’s working educators with everything they need to achieve a Tennessee Instructional Leader License and assume top-level positions in educational leadership. Choose Lee University and you’ll be part of a university that’s been recognized for academic excellence by esteemed publications like U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review!
MEd in Instructional Leadership – Administration & Supervision (online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $25,400
Affordable and flexible, Freed-Hardeman University’s MEd in Instructional Leadership with an Administration & Supervision concentration is the ideal program for today’s aspiring educational leaders and administrators! We love this fully online program because it fits perfectly with the lives of today’s busy, working educators. Consisting of 40 credits of relevant, contemporary instruction, theory, and practical experiences, the MEd in Instructional Leadership is designed to prepare you for the PRAXIS Instructional Leadership exam and the next phase of your career!
Southern Adventist University
MSEd - Instructional Leadership (online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $23,595
Southern Adventist University’s MSEd in Instructional Leadership easily makes the list of top programs for its convenience and flexibility! This dynamic course of graduate study prepares educators for a Principal endorsement and for top-level leadership roles through a fully online format. But that’s not all this program has to offer. Choose Southern Adventist’s MSEd in Instructional Leadership and you’ll enjoy a program that’s built on a Christian foundation; grounded in time-tested Adventist education principles; and led by an esteemed faculty of experienced practitioners.