Florida Atlantic University

The IDEAL Master’s and Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership for School Leaders

The IDEAL Program Educational Philosophy and Practice

In keeping with the transformative principles of adult learning (Knowles, Holton III, & Swanson, 2015) 1 , the IDEAL Program has been designed to meet the needs and aspirations of emerging school leaders who work full-time while they manage multiple personal commitments. In addition, the curriculum’s delivery model is designed for both local and distant learners and is therefore offered in a synchronous distributed eLearning format. This means that students attend a pre-determined class schedule over six semesters as a cohort and with their instructor in real time (on Saturday mornings, and Tuesday and Thursday evenings) but do so from wherever they may be. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and until further notice, all classes, including the three-semester internship, are conducted remotely via Zoom.

1 Knowles, M., Holton III, E., & Swanson, R. (2015). The Adult Learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. New York: Routledge.

2024 Best Online Programs - Grad Education - Administration and Supervision

A Synchronous Distributed eLearning Program



The Florida Atlantic University (FAU) College of Education’s (COE) Department of Educational Leadership and Research Methodology (ELRM) has as its mission to contribute to the personal and professional growth of current and potential leaders who serve educational agencies or individuals in a variety of settings. The Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, which we have called IDEAL (for Inclusive Development of Educational Administrators and Leaders) has been designed to provide aspiring school leaders with the rigorous, research-based, and job-embedded preparation required of equity-driven, instructional and transformative leaders of public, charter, private, religious, and international schools. The IDEAL Program seeks also to develop and sustain a commitment to positive social change; excellence in both understanding the need for, and implementing, the expert decision making and people skills associated with leadership in education; a belief in the power of lifelong learning, inclusion and human dignity; and exemplary standards of ethical and professional behavior.

A man leaning on a wall Completion of this degree, and passing the Florida Educational Leadership Exam (FELE), leads to Florida Educational Leadership Certification (Level I), which qualifies an individual to serve as a public school assistant principal, intern assistant principal, intern principal, or interim principal.

In addition to the leadership domains of knowledge and experiential learning considered as world class by the profession, the IDEAL Program includes learning the Florida Principal Leadership Standards which are measured through the FELE, and the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL). It also complies with the program reaccreditation requirements specified by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Two people looking at a laptop Our faculty are dedicated to the success of each and every student by building strong relationships through personalized advising, coaching, and mentoring. They comprise full-time, qualified, experienced higher education professors, researchers, and top school administrators with a background in public and private education. We also require that each student be supported and mentored by a school administrator at their school for the duration of the program.

Special Dispensation for IDEAL Program Graduates for the Aspiring Assistant Principals Program (AAPP) by the School District of Palm Beach County (SDPBC)

As of 2024, IDEAL Program graduates are guaranteed a place in the AAPP if they meet the district’s requirements. IDEAL Program graduates interested in this opportunity should contact janet.d.butts@palmbeachschools.org.

For more information, visit https://www.palmbeachschools.org/Page/2095

For more information on the program and applications process, please contact Dr. John Hardman, IDEAL Program Coordinator, at whardma1@fau.edu. or fill out our contact form at the top of the page.