Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education (ELSE)

Welcome to the Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education at Sonoma State University.

The Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education (ELSE) exists to provide state-of-the-art professional preparation for educators in the fields of educational administration and special education. The core values of our department center upon a dedication to educational excellence as a pivotal contributor to social progress. Indices of our notion of excellence include a view of schools as a crucible for an effective democracy, societal inclusivity, respect for differences in students, and an unflinching concentration on educational efficacy.

Our faculty is comprised of teachers, administrators, scholars, researchers, and program developers who possess wide and varied experience. The faculty, having won wide recognition and numerous educational awards and honors, are dedicated to preparing educators with the knowledge, skills and ethical commitment to improve society through powerful and effective schools.

Our credential and M.A. programs are CCTC accredited and offer a full compliment of course and fieldwork for students to achieve Level I and Level II (known as PASC I and II in the case of Educational Administration) credentialing, as well as Master of Arts degrees. Both traditional and intern programs exist. Courses are scheduled in the late afternoon, evenings, on Saturdays, and delivered online, in order to accommodate practicing educators.

Students in the Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education may expect to encounter programs that present cutting-edge information and skills that are grounded in research, related to professional practice and delivered by an expert, committed faculty. Our programs consist of rigorous coursework, individual attention and an environment respectful of differing perspectives. We strive to make our programs conveniently accessible to working professionals by offering courses in the evening and on weekends and in off-campus satellite location around the North-Bay region.

Note: Since some specific program requirements change periodically, both via mandates of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and university-based modifications, prospective students are advised to consult the School of Education’s Credential Office for updates on program details and policy statements, and visit the education website at