Master of Education in Catholic Educational Leadership

Master of Education in Catholic Educational Leadership (M.Ed.)

at a glance

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The Master of Education in Catholic Educational Leadership is now fully launched.

Candidates interested in obtaining a principal’s license from their state should contact their state department of education to determine licensure requirements and the applicability of the program toward that end.

Careers: Principals, Heads of School, Vice Principals, Academic Deans, Superintendents



Catholic schools are different by design and do more and teach more than other schools. The training of Catholic school leaders must be targeted to this difference and not simply defer to modern secular school leadership programs. Something more and something different is required.

Ave Maria’s M.Ed. is designed to exert maximum influence in confident response to the challenges facing Catholic schools and the amazing opportunities now available to them as the common culture continues to flounder.

Our Program enthusiastically supports and seeks to further the creative work being done around the country by other groups and initiatives currently revitalizing faithful Catholic education and bringing the Good News of Christ to the world.


Program Outcomes

Upon completion candidates will be able to:

  1. Lead with the highest standards of professionalism and ethics, faithful to a Christian worldview, and in service to the complete wellbeing of all students, families, and staff under their care.
  2. Ensure the operational vitality of their schools including finances, facilities, scheduling, technology, school safety, communication, fundraising, marketing, enrollment, and legal and professional standards of all operations.
  3. Promote a culture of learning and the continuous improvement and academic success through planning and monitoring the curriculum and careful monitoring, data-based assessment, and targeted evidence-based intervention in the service of all students in their care.
  4. Nurture a learning environment that integrally forms students in mind, body, and spirit from within a Catholic worldview, supported by virtue-based discipline and counseling in a culture of high standards and loving support.
  5. Evaluate and increase capacity of all personnel, especially the professional and Catholic formation of teachers.
  6. Lead the entire school community in fidelity to the distinctive mission of Catholic education.
  7. Communicate, care, and through Christian witness, enliven an authentic Christian Catholic community of students, teachers, parents, local parishioners, and the broader community ensuring a rich network of support for all community members, and especially for the well-being of all students

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A look into the


Daniel Guernsey, ED.D.

associate professor of Education, Director of M.Ed. in Catholic Educational Leadership

Education: B.A. English, University of San Francisco, M.A. English, University of California Berkeley, M.Ed. Administration & Supervision, California State University, Ed.D. Education, Eastern Michigan University

Kathy Christensen ED.D.

associate professor of education

Kathy ChristensenEducation: B.S., Elementary Education, Miami University; M.Ed., Curriculum & Instruction, University of South Florida; Ed.S., Teaching & Teaching Education, University of Florida; Ed.D., Curriculum & Instruction, University of Florida
Office: Canizaro Library 230
Phone: (239) 304-7932

Denise Donohue Ed.D.

Adjunct Professor of Educational Leadership

Education: Education: MCSL, University of Notre Dallas, Ed.D. Educational Leadership, Nova Southeastern University.  

Dianne Fabii, Ph.D. LPC, NCC, MCC

Adjunct Professor of Education

Education: Education: B.S., Special Education, LaSalle University, M.Ed. St. Joseph University, Ph.D. Rutgers University

Abigail Fuller, Ed.D.

Chair of the Education Department, Assistant Professor of Education

Abigail FullerEducation: B.S., Elementary Education and Dance, Slippery Rock University; M.Ed., Education Leadership, Florida Gulf Coast University; Ed.D., Education Administration, University of Florida
Office: Canizaro Library 229
Phone:  (239) 280-1631

  • 30 credit hour, 2-year program
  • Cost per credit = $561
  • Online/Hybrid cohort model
  • Taught in a dual distance-learning (asynchronous) and in-person modality, leveraging the best of both formats and allowing for personal relationships/networking and convenience.
  • Two intensive two-week summer Residencies (with some additional distance assignments) cover 40% of all coursework.
  • Authentic assessment via portfolio in lieu of the traditional research component.
  • Optional Coursework in Classical Liberal Arts
  • Ave Maria University is awaiting final approval to offer this program under its regional accreditation with SACSCOC. The University hopes to fully launch the program in the summer of 2023, but until SACSCOC grants approval, the official launch is pending.

Year One

  • EDUC 501 Catholic Education History, Philosophy, and Mission
  • EDUC 502 Formation, Counseling, and Communication
  • EDUC 503 Curriculum Leadership, Development, and Catholic Integration
  • EDUC 504 Law, Governance, and Ethics

Year Two

  • EDUC 505 Catholic Spirituality and Well-Being for Leaders
  • EDUC 506 Catholic Culture, Community and Catechetics
  • EDUC 507 Leadership and Organizational Management
  • EDUC 508 Staff, Academic, and Program Evaluation
  • EDUC 509 Business, Finance, Development and Building Operations
  • EDUC 510 Apprenticeship/Capstone

Classical Liberal Arts Education Emphasis (Offered every other summer)

    • EDUC 511 The History and Philosophy Classical Liberal Arts education
    • EDUC 512 Classical Liberal Arts Education Methods and Practice in the Modern Context
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • An indication of the capability to perform graduate course work based on either:
    • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher; or
    • A GRE score of 144 or higher; or
    • A post-graduate degree in another discipline.
  • Completed online application.
  • Current resume, including teaching experience if applicable.
  • Two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from the candidate’s current or former school administrator (if the candidate has teaching experience).
  • Statement of Intent (500 words): brief intellectual and professional biography, which includes a statement about his/her motivation for pursuing the M.Ed. in Catholic Educational Leadership.
  • Interview with the program director or admissions counselor before acceptance into the program.

Candidates interested in obtaining a principal’s license from their state should contact their state department of education to determine licensure requirements and the applicability of the program toward that end.

Contact: Dr. Dan Guernsey, Program Director

Phone: (239) 675-9018

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