M.Ed. Urban Educational Leadership

Aspiring Leaders Program

Are you a highly motivated individual who wants to lead an URBAN school? Are you committed to increasing social equity through public education?.



M.Ed. Urban Educational Leadership

M.Ed. Urban Educational Leadership

The Aspiring Leaders Program is a unique partnership between SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development and Teaching Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building the professional capacity critical to transforming urban schools. The program prepares school leaders to build an aspirational school culture and lead high-quality instruction for all students. Driven by a commitment of both excellence and equity, students are supported on a journey of personal and professional change as they strive to translate their vision into improved student outcomes.

Unique Program Benefits

  • Individualized coaching and development through Teaching Trust
  • Rigorous, competency-based program focused on action learning
  • Second year residency on an urban school campus
  • Mentoring program supported by successful school principals
  • Sharing of the latest effective practices in urban schools
  • Courses taught by experienced urban school leaders and Simmons School professors.
  • Learning alongside a cohort of values-aligned, influential changemakers
  • Significant scholarship availability to ensure affordability
  • Development of skills that span across various industries

Partner Districts

Prospective students must be employed by one of the following partner districts.

  • Dallas ISD
  • Fort Worth ISD
  • Uplift Education
  • Irving ISD
  • KIPP
  • Grand Prairie ISD
  • Garland ISD

If you are not employed by a partner district, please contact us for more information. 

Program Structure

The master’s degree is designed to be completed in two years with extended support from Teaching Trust that continues beyond graduation. 

Year One

In the first year of the program, students take courses at SMU taught by SMU faculty while working full-time in their current role as educators. Students take courses in a sequence that begins with a 3-week intensive session during the first summer of enrollment. During the fall and spring academic terms, students meet each week for classes on Saturdays. 

Year Two

In the second year, students serve in an on-campus leadership role for a Residency year where they are paired with a mentor principal and implement strategies and skills in real-time as coaches, assistant principals, or principals. Residents receive on-the-job coaching & support from a Teaching Trust leadership development coach. 

Alumni Support and Network

Alumni receive one year of tailored coaching support from Teaching Trust in their first year of serving as principals.  In addition, alumni gain access to an expansive network of education leaders through both Teaching Trust and SMU.  


Texas Principal Certification

Students who meet TEA requirements are eligible to earn a probationary certificate at the end of the first year and the standard certificate at the end of the second year upon completion of the program.