New UMaine Special Education Leadership Certificate Available this Fall 

The University of Maine College of Education and Human Development and UMaineOnline will begin offering a new graduate certificate in Special Education Leadership this fall.

The Maine Department of Education lists Teacher of Students with Disabilities among the state’s teacher shortage areas. The new graduate certificate is designed to address an accompanying shortage of special education administrators. There are currently 242 special education directors in the state of Maine — one for every 127 students with a disability. The 12-credit graduate certificate in special education leadership can lead to Maine DOE certification as an assistant administrator of special education.

“This certificate is a response to feedback from PreK–12 professionals in Maine and beyond about the immediate need to support the growing number of students with disabilities and who are at risk,” says Sarah Howorth, assistant professor and coordinator of the graduate program in special education in the UMaine College of Education and Human Development. “Assistant administrators serve an important function in local districts, helping directors provide legally mandated access to a free and appropriate education for all students.”

Assistant administrators contribute to overseeing all facets of a school district’s special education department, including programs, services, personnel and budget.

The four courses in the graduate certificate are Law and Policy Affecting Individuals with Disabilities, School Law for Administrators, Organizational Behavior in Education, and an Internship in Special Education Administration. The program objectives are based on guidelines from the Council for Special Education Administrators (CASE). Students can pursue the certificate as a stand-alone program, or as part of coursework toward an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree.

Applications for the Special Education Leadership: Assistant Special Education Director graduate certificate are being accepted through Aug. 15 for students interested in starting the program in the fall 2021 semester. For students interested in starting in summer 2022, the application deadline is April 15, 2022. More information is available on the UMaineOnline website.

For more information, contact Howorth at sarah.howorth@maine.edu.