Special Education Leadership Program

Special Education Leadership Program


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UST Awarded $1.25M Grant for Special Education

The U.S. Department of Education awarded University of St. Thomas School of Education and Human Services a $1.25 Million grant to help prepare graduate students for leadership positions in special education. Over the five-year grant period, the University of St. Thomas will confront the shortage of special education leaders by developing a program of study that will award 80 Master of Education degrees with emphasis on special education leadership. The Preparation of Special Education Leaders Program is a partnership between University of St. Thomas, the Houston Independent School District, and the Aldine Independent School District.

“It is definitely a privilege to be a part of the PSEL cohort. Not only am I being given the tools to become a special education leader, but I am also building lasting relationships with my classmates. It is truly a one of a kind experience!”

—Elizabeth Jimenez

“The PSEL Cohort program is an amazing experience with passionate and knowledgeable professors. I am thankful to be a part of a cohort with HISD colleagues. We are a team. a community, all with a common vision and I know I can call upon my fellow geese should I need assistance. I hope this is what you are looking for.”

—Andrea Selig

"I really enjoy working with my cohort group members. The work has been challenging, but rewarding. Sometimes it is scary to get up in front of others, but the support and training we have received makes me able to go forward without fear."

—Joe Evans PSEL Cohort #1 Member


Admission Requirements
  1. Meet all University of St. Thomas Graduate School of Education and Human Services Admission Criteria.

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  2. Be a fully certified/licensed teacher or other related service provider in the Houston ISD, Aldine ISD, Pasadena ISD, Spring ISD, or Galena Park ISD, and have at least two years of work experience by the time of completion of the PSEL program.
  3. An interview with the members of the PSEL team to determine, among other things, the applicant’s commitment to lead special education programs and to provide services in marginalized urban schools.
  4. Agree to a Service Obligation, to meet a federal scholarship requirement—generally, a two year commitment to work in a special education leadership position ideally in a low SES diverse urban setting for each of the two years of PSEL program participation.

How do I find out more about the program?

Dr. Randy Soffer
Director of the Preparation of Special Education Leaders Program

Ms. Debbie Fernandez
Program Assistant
713- 525-3829