Application information

Application overview

The application period for Cohort 6 is now open.  The application deadline is March 31, 2022 and the program will begin begin Summer 2022.

The Enhancing Capacity for Special Education Leadership (ECSEL) program admits a new cohort every two years.  Interested candidates will submit multiple application documents for evaluation by the faculty and program advisory committee. Please contact the ECSEL advisor to be added to the mailing list for recruitment updates. 


Application Requirements

In order to apply for the Enhancing Capacity for Special Education Leadership (ECSEL) program, applications must provide proof of the following eligibility requirements via the documents in the application packet below:

  • Master's Degree or higher
  • 3.5 GPA
  • Current Washington State Professional Certification

Application Process

  1. Submit the ECSEL Application Form
    • The following application materials will be submitted via Google Form in PDF format.
    • You must use a Google/Gmail account to log in and submit the ECSEL Application Form.
    • Compile all documents prior to creating application form. The form cannot be saved. 
    • Refer to the Six Primary Criteria (below). These criteria should be referenced within your application materials and recommendation letters.
  2. Completion of the Miller Analogies Test (MAT)

UPDATE:  For applicants unable to complete the MAT due to testing center closures, please submit all other materials. Include a note that indicates testing was unavailable.  The ECSEL application review committee may offer conditional admission until the MAT test can be completed at such time that testing centers re-open.

  • This is an onsite, computer based test which requires approximately 3 weeks for results.  Please note: We suggest completing the MAT as soon as possible to meet the application deadline.  The cost for the assessment varies by testing center. 
  • Please complete this portion of the admissions requirement as soon as possible. More information about the Miller Analogies Test.
  • Applicants outside of the Seattle area can find testing centers via the MAT administrator website.
  • Prior ECSEL applicants who previously completed the MAT test are not required to re-test. 

Application Documentation

The following documents will be submitted via the ECSEL Application Form. Compile all documents prior to beginning the application. 

  1. Evidence of current Washington State Professional Certification.
    • (or equivalent continuing certification) and at least five years of experience as a special education teacher, school psychologist, speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, or physical therapist. (Include a photocopy of Washington certificate and endorsements.)
  2. Application Letter. 
    • Please describe why you aspire to the position of local director of special education, and why you believe you are qualified for the role.  Describe training, experience, and professional contributions in terms of how these areas specifically meet the six primary criteria for admission to the program. The letter should be no more than three (3) pages.
  3. Current Resume.
    • ​​Please list your education and work experience. Applicants are encouraged to format resumes to reflect how experience and skillsets align with the six primary criteria for admission. Include in your resume a one paragraph description each of up to three leadership experiences relevant to special education (situations in which you needed to work with and influence other adults to achieve a goal).
  4. Transcripts.
    • Provide one unofficial transcript for undergraduate and graduate degree institution; and one copy of post-baccalaureate, and/or non-UW graduate coursework.  
  5. Four Letters of Recommendation
    1. Letter of support from your director of special education or your superintendent
      • Instructions:  Please speak to how the applicant meets the six primary criteria for admission to the ECSEL program.  In addition, comment on the applicant's skills in the following areas: working as a team member, instructional skills with students with disabilities, experience as a trainer of special education and general education staff in working with students with disabilities, organizational and management skills, ability to relate to families of students in special education, and potential to be a district leader. Comment if you would hire this person for the position of director of special education.
    2. Letter of support from your current building principal, if you are assigned to a school, or if not, a principal with whom you have worked in the past year
      • Instructions:  Please speak to how the applicant meets the six primary criteria for admission to the ECSEL program.  In addition, comment on the applicant's skills in the following areas: working as a team member, instructional skills with students with disabilities, experience as a trainer of special education and general education staff in working with students with disabilities, organizational and management skills, ability to relate to families of students in special education, and potential to be a district leader.  Comment if you would hire this person for the position of director of special education.
    3. Letter of acknowledgement from your ESD special education director*​
      • Instructions: We understand that many applicants will not know their ESD Special Education Directors. However, the ESDs are partners in the ECSEL program and the special education directors have been asked to be a part of the application process in this way. The letter of acknowledgement will provide evidence that you have discussed your interest in the ECSEL program with your ESD special education director and that you are aware of special education leadership opportunities available within the ESD region. 
    4. Letter of support from the parent of a student in special education with whom you have had direct contact​.
      • Instructions:  Please relate your experiences working with the applicant. Comment on their skills and knowledge about special education, their communication skills with parents, and your confidence in them as a district leader for children with disabilities.
  6. Attestation of Support by the Superintendent
    • The ECSEL program requires a year of internship at the school leadership level, and a year at the district special education level. The Attestation of Support document must be signed by the superintendent to indicate recognition and support for these internships. 

      Download and print the document found here:  Certification of Internship Support

Primary criteria for ECSEL candidate selection

Enhancing Capacity for Special Education Leadership (ECSEL) applications are reviewed by the program faculty and advisory committee members. Final candidate selection is based on reviewers' collective judgment about each candidate's likelihood of success in the program and in later positions as local special education administrators.

In reaching admission decisions, the review committee considers several factors, including:

  1. Demonstrated expertise in instruction and interventions for individuals with disabilities. 
    • Knowledge of an organization's core work is a critical element for many leadership positions. The ECSEL program reflects a belief that expertise for improving instruction and interventions is fundamental to successful leadership in special education programs. Applications should show evidence of student success in classrooms or schools where the applicant works, along with evidence of successful interventions for behavior, communication, and other needs. In other words, an application should answer the question, "What have you done that demonstrates your ability to significantly increase student learning and adjustment?"
  2. Demonstrated intellectual capability for completing an academically demanding graduate program. 
    • For this criterion, applications should show evidence of the applicant's prior success in academic programs, such as high grade point averages, challenging classes or majors, academic honors, and prior graduate preparation. In addition, professional writing skills, including in the application itself, should be evident.  
  3. Strong interpersonal skills. Relationships and communication are essential components of special education leadership positions.
    • Applications should show evidence that demonstrates successful collaboration with families as well as evidence of successful collaborative work and positive relationships with colleagues and supervisors. Applications are also reviewed for evidence of the ability to create motivating relationships with students. Strong evidence related to this criterion will demonstrate how previous work illustrates the ability of the applicant to work with individuals from different cultures and to effectively manage conflict in ways that support high-quality instruction for students.
  4. Clear and sustained commitment to self-development as a professional and leader. 
    • Much of what's important in leadership development occurs on the job as individuals take on challenging assignments that go beyond normal responsibilities. Applicants should demonstrate a record of seeking out opportunities to develop new skills and take advantage of professional learning opportunities. This includes, for example, evidence of self-motivated engagement in new and challenging job responsibilities (in informal and well as formal leadership roles) and evidence that others recognize the applicant as an influential (formal or informal) leader. Applications should reflect a pattern of regular involvement in professional development related to current and emerging issues in general and special education.
  5. Success and impact in prior leadership experiences.  
    • This criterion focuses on the results of each applicant's prior leadership with other adults.  Applications should provide evidence of previous leadership activities that have resulted in clear benefits for students with disabilities. Note that this is different from Criterion 1, which focuses on the applicant's own interventions with students. Here, the focus is on documented results that are achieved in professional leadership roles, i.e., when the applicant is working with other adults to influence what happens to students with disabilities.  
  6. Clearly articulated and consistently applied professional commitments supporting the education and inclusion of students with disabilities.
    • Applicants should provide evidence articulating the goals and values that underlie and motivate their work in special education, along with confirmation that prior professional work has been guided by these values. In addition, the application should also convey evidence of the applicant's commitment to improving the lives of persons with disabilities in the school and community through ongoing involvement in organizations or activities outside the school setting.

Submit all application materials here:  ECSEL Application Form.


Documents submitted directly from Superintendents, the ESD, or MAT testing centers, can be emailed to the advisor (see below) or mailed to: 

ECSEL Program
School of Educational Studies
University of Washington-Bothell
Box 358531
18115 Campus Way N.E.
Bothell, WA 98011

Questions

For questions regarding the ECSEL application process, contact:

Michele Graaff, Graduate Program Advisor