Expand AU Menu

Education Policy and Leadership

Take Action

  • Preparing Teachers to Lead
  • EPL Students Meet with John B. King, Jr.
  • Native English Speakers and Dual Language Programs
  • Inspiring Pathways to Education Policy

Alumni Perspectives

"The Policy and Leadership program at American was an incredible experience that connected me to other passionate educators and provided me with experiences that led me to pursue my current position as a teacher leader."

Liana Ponce, MEd '14, Teacher and Math Teacher Leader, H.D. Cooke Elementary School

"The Education Policy and Leadership program helped me understand how federal policies play out in a classroom setting."

Gloria Molina-Estolano, MEd '15, Government Affairs Assistant, Teach for America

"Education is a 'hot-button' issue, but the program does a great job of both peeling back the layers to expose the socio-historical framework, while challenging your beliefs to make sure you are steadfast and logical in your conclusions."

Caroline Decaire-Goldin, MEd '15, Legislative Fellow in the office of Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH)

Message from the Director

Jason Snyder, Director

Welcome to the master's in education program in Education Policy and Leadership (EPL) in the School of Education at American University. The MEd EPL Degree is designed for educators and other professionals interested in education policy and leadership, with areas of concentration Policy Studies and Teacher Leadership.

The Policy Studies track prepares educators and other professionals to serve as leaders in education organizations — including federal and state education agencies, school districts, charter management organizations, and nonprofits that implement education policies and programs. Students work with professors and education leaders to develop knowledge and skills in leadership, policy, law, economics, and research needed to effectively administer education programs and policies at all levels. Policy Studies graduates are also well positioned to continue on to PhD programs in education policy and research.  

The Teacher Leadership track prepares current educators to continue serving within schools as teacher leaders who use evidence and collaboration to provide support and shape school-improvement efforts in areas of literacy, dyslexia, or STEM. Students in this track develop deeper knowledge about how to support teachers and school-wide change in these focus areas, including learning about coaching, data use, curriculum design, and research methodology. Teacher Leadership students that focus on literacy or dyslexia are also well positioned to become reading specialists or other literacy leaders within schools.

"Education reform efforts rise or fall on the quality of their implementation. That’s why it’s our goal to teach the skills needed to implement, as well as develop, education policies and programs."
— Jason Snyder

Learning about educational policy and leadership in our nation's capital offers students unique opportunities they cannot find elsewhere in the country, including access to policy makers (current and former) and an engaged education reform community at the federal and local level. As program director and professor in the program's education law course, I can also vouch that the group of graduate students attracted to AU's MEd EPL program have extraordinary educational experiences and a remarkable commitment to social justice through education reform.

I look forward to meeting you! 


Jason Snyder
Director, Education Policy and Leadership Program and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, US Department of Education

Fall 2016 Program Deadline

Priority application deadline to be considered for a merit award is February 1. The second priority deadline is March 1. Applications submitted after March 1 are reviewed on a rolling basis until cohorts are filled.


Partnership programs are available for corps members, alumni, and staff of the following organizations. Check out the benefits by clicking the links below:

Program Highlights

  • 30-unit master's degree that can be completed in four semesters of evening courses

  • Cohort model for full-time teachers and other education professionals

  • Full-time faculty and expert practitioners who bring policy, research, and school experience

  • Practical consultancy projects with schools and D.C. education and policy organizations

  • Special emphasis on implementation and on connecting policy to education practice

  • Support for identifying career pathways and opportunities