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MSU special education program part of Kentucky LEADS Academy

Students in Morehead State University's Director of Special Education certification program will have the opportunity to participate in the Kentucky Department of Education's (KDE) third cohort of the Kentucky Leading, Educating, Advocating for Directors of Special Education (LEADS) Academy.   

MSU is one of three institutions involved with the LEADS Academy, including Western Kentucky University and Murray State University. The Academy is possible through collaboration with the KDE, Kentucky's Part C Early Intervention Services and the Kentucky Parent Training and Information Center.  

Candidates selected for the LEADS Academy will receive tuition reimbursement made possible by this five-year, $1 million competitive federal grant courtesy of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs. It exists to spark systemic change by increasing the number and capacity of certified directors of special education (DoSE), special education teachers, early intervention service leaders, and Admission and Release Committee (ARC) chairs to improve services results for children with disabilities.  

Dr. April Miller, dean of the Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education, said directors of special education are a "high-needs area" in the state. They are typically responsible for setting up curriculum and working with parents, faculty, teachers, and sometimes students to construct individualized education programs for each student.   

"This is a population of students that need extra support and services. The director of special education can have a huge impact," Miller said.  

In addition to the tuition reimbursement allowing for more students to pursue DoSE certification, the LEAD Academy's emphasis on increased professional development, mentorship, and leadership helps scholars be even more prepared to tackle the state's particular education challenges.  

"They get a lot more support through this LEADS program," Miller said. "We're really focusing on that leadership and additional learning to help them stand out from others." 

Eligible applicants for the LEADS Academy must be:   

  • Enrolled in Morehead State University, Western Kentucky University or Murray State University (currently or within the next three months);  
  • Pursuing a Director of Special Education (DoSE) certification;  
  • Willing to participate in monthly Saturday Seminars and professional learning communities; and,  
  • Willing to serve as a mentor to future academy participants aspiring for leadership experience and support.  

The deadline to apply is Friday, June 3. Candidates must send their applications to the Office of Special Education and Early Learning (OSEEL).   

For more information on the LEADS Academy, contact Dr. Thomas Williams, executive strategic policy analyst, OSEEL, at  

MSU's Director of Special Education certification will prepare you to be an effective administrator of public school special education programs. The online certification requires 21 credit hours and meets the requirements of the Education Professional Standards Board. There is also an option to package the certification with a second master's degree, Rank I, Ed.S., or Ed.D.  

To learn more about MSU's Department of Foundational and Graduate Studies in Education programs, visit, email or call 606-783-2261.