Educational Leadership & Policy

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Roles and Work Environment

Taking on leadership roles in Education can look differently depending on where you want to be involved. Administrators in local school systems, such as principals and vice principals, work directly with teachers, students and parents and help with school reform. Typically, becoming a principal involves a master’s degree, like the M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision in the Curry School here at UVA.

When thinking about reforming education on a larger scale, you may want to work in education policy. Do you want to create policy (government), conduct research to influence policy (think tanks), advocate for educators (union), or work with schools to change local approaches to education (nonprofit)? These are just some of the ways you might get involved with policy. Here are some examples of organizations that are connected to education leadership and policy:

Skills and Training

Here are some skills you may consider developing if you are interested in working in education leadership and policy.

  • Public speaking & verbal communication
  • Strong writing: concise, clear, persuasive
  • Knowledge of current education policies
  • Experience working in education (teaching and/or mentorship)
  • Ability to analyze & effectively problem-solve

Many professionals who work in education policy recommend spending at least some time working in a classroom before moving into policy in order to gain a better understanding of the industry.

Industry Timeline

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Applying and Interviewing

Resumes and Cover Letters

Make sure to check out the Resumes and Cover Letters sections of the website for helpful advice and sample resumes and cover letters.


If you have never interviewed before, make sure to check out the interviewing section of our website. You can also conduct a mock interview with a career counselor for practice.

Additional Industry Resources

Blogs and Industry Research

Professional Associations

More to Explore

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