Native American Innovative Leadership (NAIL)—
Educational Leadership & Special Education
Administration Interdisciplinary MA/EdS w/ Licensure

A Native-Focused Graduate Program with Dual Licensure

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The Native American Innovative Leadership (NAIL) program is an Educational Leadership & Special Education Administration Interdisciplinary degree with dual licensure as a Principal and Special Education Director. This program can be taken as either a Master of Arts (MA) or Educational Specialist (EdS) degree. The NAIL program is 39 credit hours that prepare educators to successfully lead high-achieving, culturally-responsive schools, particularly those serving Native American youths and communities.

The online delivery allows participants to remain in their schools and communities while completing an advanced degree that will open a variety of doors to career advancement through the development of leadership skills and knowledge that will help create positive change.

The course content addresses how educational leaders can develop a learning environment and effective teaching practices that honor Native culture and language, and also help Native students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful and happy individuals as adults.

This program is a collaborative effort of faculty and staff from the departments of special education, educational leadership, and UNC's Native American Student Services (NASS), run through the support of the UNC Office of Extended Studies. 

This program utilizes a collaboration of coursework from multiple departments, which allows us to admit and begin serving students any academic term.

More Resources

We encourage you to visit the NAIL program website for additional information including

  • Program faculty and staff details
  • Detailed application instructions

Send Me Information

Contact the Academic Program Coordinator

NAIL Academic Program Coordinator

Linda Vogel, Ph.D.
(970) 351-2119

Course of Study

This program is 39 credit hours, which can be completed online in as few as 8 academic terms (less than 3 years). Native American Innovative Leadership (NAIL) students will earn dual licensure as a Principal and Special Education Director, and either an MA or Ed.S. degree (see Admission Requirements section).

Participants must enroll in a minimum of 3 credit hours per semester and maintain a 3.0 G.P.A. to remain in the program (those receiving various financial aid may need to maintain 9 hours for any term in which they are receiving aid – nine credit hours are offered each term). Program must be completed within five years from beginning the first course.

Required Coursework (See Upcoming Courses)

Educational Leadership Courses (21 Credit Hours)

  • ELPS 601 Leadership Development Through Inquiry (3)
  • ELPS 603 Shaping Organizations: Management and Leadership in Education (3)
  • ELPS 604 Understanding People: Professional Development and Educational Leadership (3)
  • ELPS 650 School Finance and Budgeting (3)
  • ELPS 654 Instructional Leadership and Supervision  (3)
  • ELPS 660 Law and the Administrator (3)
  • ELPS 670 The Principalship: Leadership at the School Site Level (3)

Special Education Administration Courses (9 Credit Hours)

  • EDSE 680 Administration & Evaluation of Special Ed (3)
  • EDSE 681 Administrative Planning & Program Evaluation in Special Ed (3)
  • EDSE 718 Advanced Seminar in Education of Students with Hearing and/or Visual Handicaps (3)

Research (3 Hours)

  • Master of Arts (M.A.) degree students – SRM 600 Introduction to Graduate Research (3)
  • Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) students – SRM 670 Evaluation: Models & Designs (3)

Field-Based Learning (6 Credit Hours)

  • ELPS 606 Internship in Educational Leadership (3)
  • EDSE 697 Externship in Special Education Administration (3)

For completion of these courses, participants must complete a minimum of 360 clock hours of internship experiences (internships also contribute to acquired credit hours) to earn a Colorado Principal Licensure. Note: this program will prepare graduates for Principal Licensure in Colorado. Residents of other states may be eligible for reciprocal recognition or your advisor will work with you on state-specific licensure requirement needs.

Internship experiences for course credit will be completed by participants in their home schools to expand their leadership in their current school context, and you will be encouraged to dialogue with practicing Native American educators who can serve as mentors. The coursework uses materials that specifically address Native American student learning styles, language, and culture to increase the instructional leadership capabilities of participants. An emphasis is placed on balancing Native and non-Native learning expectations, building upon cultural assets, and maximizing parental and community involvement to support student achievement.

Comprehensive Exam

Participants must earn a passing grade on a Comprehensive Exam in the final semester of their program of study. The exam will be in essay format and ask participants to apply the knowledge they have gained in their coursework to practical leadership situations.

Admission Requirements and Transfer Credit

Tuition, Financial Aid and Health Insurance

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