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Become a Leader in Education

Today’s leaders in education understand how to awaken a passion for learning in their students. They build bridges between policy, student needs, and teaching strategies to provide holistic instruction that supports students’ growth and development to help them thrive in the modern world.

Concordia University Irvine’s M.A. in Educational Leadership equips educators with a contemporary understanding of complex social, cultural, and policy issues and best practices to build school programs that engage with the real world. This fully online master’s program and its transformational specializations are a result of the combined efforts of Concordia’s renowned School of Education and our Servant Leadership Institute.

The desire to train and empower more leaders in education inspired Concordia to create a cutting-edge program to make a real difference for all education professionals. Designed to meet the needs of today, this graduate program delivers relevant curriculum based on the latest research and best practices for modern education. Graduate students choose from two areas of specialization offered within the M.A. in Educational Leadership degree: SEL, Character, and Ethics specialization and Ethics or Cognition, Motivation, and Development specialization

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Educators having a conversation

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership lies at the heart of this graduate program. We’re building up cohorts of committed servant leaders who embody humility, compassion, wisdom, honesty, and courage to build relationships, create a vision, communicate, and motivate excellence in their schools and communities.

The Servant Leadership Institute is a key partner in the design and delivery of this transformational Educational Leadership program.

Teacher speaking with students

Two Transformational Specializations

With two specializations to choose from, you will have the opportunity to learn the practices of social emotional learning (SEL) or the skills of fostering motivation and development. In our SEL, Character, and Ethics specialization, you can learn strategies for creating healthy, inclusive classrooms where all students can thrive. In our Cognition, Motivation, and Development specialization, you can draw from the tenets of educational psychology and learn a whole-child approach to supporting students physically, academically, behaviorally, and emotionally.

Educators in a classroom

Designed for Today’s School Professionals

Concordia's Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program was built to meet the needs of a wide range of school personnel, which includes the following and more:

  • Classroom teachers
  • Curriculum coaches
  • Subject matter experts
  • Administrators
  • School counselors
  • District employees

The goal is to help school personnel develop integrative strategies beneficial inside the classroom and school-wide. No matter your current or aspiring role, this degree can be a résumé-booster!

Educators having a conversation

Two Paths: Master of Arts or Graduate Certificate

Educators embrace the merits of lifelong learning. To support that continuous pursuit of knowledge, we have two different levels of our Educational Leadership program.

You can earn your Master of Arts in Educational Leadership degree with an emphasis in SEL, Character, and Ethics, or Cognition, Motivation, and Development (30 units), or you can complete just the emphasis of your choice and receive a SEL Graduate Education Certificate, or  Cognition, Motivation, and Development Graduate Certificate (15 units). Both paths offer the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to promote long-term change and build positive school environments with support systems to reach the whole child.


Concordia University has a strong faculty of experienced Christian educators who are faithful to the university’s mission to “empower students. . . for lives of learning, service, and leadership.” Our students benefit from educators who embrace the tenets of servant leadership and treat students with respect while pushing them to reach their full potential.

Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier

Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier

Professor & Servant Leadership Institute Director

Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier started his teaching career in 1978 and transitioned from secondary to collegiate education in 1988. Dr. Schlichtemeier served as a professor in the School of Education at Concordia University Irvine from 1988-2003 where he mentored future teachers while also completing his doctorate in Educational Leadership at UCLA in 1996. Dr. Schlichtemeier served as a teacher and Assistant Principal at Orange Lutheran High School from 2003-2007 before returning to teach at Concordia, serving as Dean of the School of Education, and founding the Servant Leadership Institute.

Lori Doyle

Dr. Lori Doyle

Associate Professor and MAEL Director

Dr. Lori Doyle works as Associate Professor of Education at Concordia University Irvine where she serves as Director of the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program and Assistant Director of the Servant Leadership Institute. She has completed and managed extensive curriculum development projects at the university and serves as Subject Matter Expert for courses in multiple MA programs. Working as an instructor also keeps her mindful of relevant and changing trends in education. Lori has taught at several universities over the past twenty-two years, but her career began as a high school English and theology teacher and curriculum writer. She holds a California Clear Credential in Secondary Education, MAEd in Curriculum and Instruction, and a PhD in Psychology with an emphasis in Cognition. Her areas of research interest are adult education, Biblical contexts, leadership, curriculum, Social Emotional Learning, and faculty mental health.

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Related Programs

Concordia’s Graduate School of Education offers four graduate certificates, five distinctive master's degrees, and a Doctorate of Education (EdD) in Leadership. Classes are small and focused on the development of critical, independent thinking, and are taught by experienced Christian faculty members. Concordia’s School of Education enjoys an excellent reputation in the academic community as thousands of graduates lead in schools throughout the region. Students gain targeted knowledge and proficient skills to connect, care, collaborate, and create in their unique role in education. Our goal is to equip students to pursue opportunities and advance their careers.

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