If there is a part of the country that can really use some first-rate educational leadership right now, it’s definitely the West South Central region. Among Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana, only Texas received above a D grade in EdWeek’s 2021 rankings of K-12 educational achievement. Louisiana came in third from last.
There are reasons for that lack of achievement that go beyond the school systems here. According to Census Bureau data from 2021, it’s a region that is younger, less wealthy, and less rooted than most parts of the country.
Schools themselves aren’t always well-equipped to deal with the issues that walk in the door, either—teacher salaries in Arkansas and Louisiana are some of the lowest in the nation. From ESL-endorsed educators to special education teachers, it’s hard to staff the specialists and well-trained teachers you need when higher salaries are available a state or two away.
Although these aren’t problems that schools are creating, all the same, it’s up to educational leaders here to do their best to work around them while building strong school communities. And if you’re on your way to one of those leadership jobs in one of these states, that means you need the best possible training you can get.
So our top selection of schools offering educational leadership degrees in the West South Central region should be your first stop on this next phase of your career path.
For a region that has seen real challenges in the public schools, universities down here know how to put together a nationally-respected course of study in educational administration. And with the intimate, first-hand understanding of regional education issues and close ties to school systems, you can get every ounce of preparation you need to make a real difference as a leader and administrator.
It’s critical to earn your master’s degree from an institution that has a handle on the uniquely local issues that these states face, while also offering the qualifying coursework needed to become licensed as a principal or superintendent.
You’ll find that all of these schools hit those marks—and put you in a better position to lead the next generation to higher achievement.
Editor’s Choice for the Best Educational Leadership Administrator Prep Master’s Programs in the West South Central Region
Xavier University of Louisiana
MA in Educational Leadership (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $28,386
The MA in Educational Leadership through Xavier University is where transformative leaders are made! This dynamic course of graduate study features 36 credits and a curriculum rich in topics like leadership, strategic planning, and supervision. You’ll explore educational issues related to teaching and learning as you work toward your Louisiana Level 1 Educational Leader certificate. Just some of the courses you’ll take include Visionary Leadership, Statistics, Collaborative Leadership, Educational Law, and Management of School Personnel and Finance.
University of Holy Cross
MEd in Educational Leadership (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $26,460
The University of the Holy Cross’ MEd in Educational Leadership is expertly designed to prepare today’s educators to become tomorrow’s confident educational leaders and administrators. Just some of the reasons you’re sure to love this program include personal attention from a talented faculty… small class sizes… and a curriculum that prepares you for Level 1 Educational Leader certification. Holy Cross now offers a 50% tuition discount for all classroom teachers pursuing their MEd in Educational Leadership!
Southern Nazarene University
MA in Educational Leadership (on-campus, online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $17,640
Six-week courses, six start dates per year, and a flexible, on-campus or online format make Southern Nazarene University’s MA in Educational Leadership a gem for aspiring educational administrators and leaders like you! Choose on-campus study and you’ll attend class just one night per week at the Bethany or Tulsa campus or at one of the university’s many satellite locations. Or choose online study and you’ll learn from the comfort of your home – the choice is yours! Whichever format you choose, you’ll enjoy superb convenience and flexibility through six-week courses. And you’ll graduate in as little as 20 months! You’re also sure to love the program design, which allows you to come together with other working educators to explore real-world issues.
MA in School Leadership (hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $68,550
Baylor University’s MA in School Leadership is built on a Christian foundation, offered in a convenient and flexible hybrid format, and expertly designed to prepare you for Texas principal certification or school leadership in other states or independent schools. You’re sure to love the program’s dedicated faculty and its optimal blend of on-campus and online learning that aligns with the needs of today’s busy, working educators. Study online throughout the calendar year, then gather for short, on-campus learning sessions – your opportunity to connect with your peers and build your professional network!
Texas Christian University
MEd - K-12 Educational Leadership (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $59,460
Texas Christian University offers the MEd – K-12 Educational Leadership program, a superb course of graduate study that prepares collaborative, flexible, and ethical administrators in the K-12 school environment. This 30-hour, on-campus program, which can be completed in just five semesters, explores equity-centered leadership with an emphasis on culturally responsive instruction, instructional leadership & coaching, data-informed decision making, community engagement, and complex systems. Offered in a decidedly student-centered learning environment, this program features a cohort design that comes complete with small classes and outstanding guidance and support from a dedicated faculty.
Dallas Baptist University
MEd in Educational Leadership (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $38,130
Your career in K-12 leadership is just around the corner through Dallas Baptist University’s MEd in Educational Leadership! This 30-credit program boasts a Christian foundation, a focus on servant leadership and a faculty of experienced practitioners, and a pathway to both principal certification and the Advanced Educational Leadership (AEL) certificate. We love the robust curriculum that includes options for specialized electives like Pedagogy in the Digital Age, Digital Citizenship, Improvement of Instruction, and The School and Multicultural Society.
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
MEd in Educational Administration - Principal as Instructional Leader Certification (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $30,000
Three start dates per year are just one of the many perks of choosing the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor’s MEd in Educational Administration! This 30-hour, three-semester program features a cohort design and a nontraditional format that prepares students like you for Texas Principal as Instructional Leader certification. This program, which is grounded in the Christian faith, is where you’ll connect and engage with peers and faculty as you explore leadership, collaboration, decision-making, research, and reform initiatives that impact today’s educational institutions.
Wayland Baptist University
MEd in Educational Administration (on-campus, hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $29,196
Wayland Baptist University’s MEd in Educational Administration is grounded in the Christian faith and is offered in a flexible format that includes on-campus and hybrid courses. This 37-credit program is designed to prepare aspiring educational leaders and administrators for principal certification. Choose either part- or full-time study and you’ll graduate in as little as two years! Choose Wayland as your pathway to a career as a PreK-12 principal and you’ll be part of a dynamic, student-centered university that values close connections and outstanding guidance!
MEd in Educational Administration (online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $26,875
Offering a fully online format to accommodate the needs of today’s busy, working educators, LeTourneau University’s MEd in Educational Administration boasts unmatched convenience and flexibility! This program is expertly designed to build upon your teaching experience and education, enhance your leadership and management skills, and prepare you for top-level administrative and leadership positions in PreK-12 schools. We also love the principal certification prep courses and practice exam opportunities that ensure you’ll be ready to take the principal certification exam. The online courses here are accelerated in design (lasting three to seven weeks) and taken just one at a time. Earning your master’s degree in educational administration has never been easier or more convenient!