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The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership

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Stay at the forefront of your field with the Riley College of Education and Leadership.

More Than 50 Years of Shaping Impactful Educators

You’re dedicated to helping learners create bright futures and big possibilities. As the Educator of Educators®, Walden shares your passion. Our online education degree programs have been refined over the years to help educators like you rediscover their purpose and make an even greater impact in the classroom and the community.

The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership is rooted in the belief that a great education makes a great educator. Every course in every program is designed to help you prepare to meet the challenges—and opportunities—of today’s evolving learning environment. You’ll also discover an outstanding support system, delivered by a university that’s been helping distance learners achieve their goals for more than 50 years.

Education Is in Our DNA

Walden was founded in 1970 by two teachers. We’ve been focused on empowering and advocating for educators since day one.

Relevant, Actionable Approach

Our programs provide practical, research-based strategies for improving student outcomes. Apply what you learn immediately.

A Focus on Social Change

Become an impactful educator who makes a difference for their students, organization, and community.

Thank You for Being Essential

Educators like you light the way forward for students—especially in uncertain times. With an advanced degree from Walden University, you can make an even greater difference in your classroom, your organization, and your community.

CAEP-Accredited Online College of Education

Walden University’s Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Services is accredited based on the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards through June 2026. This accreditation covers specific Walden initial teacher and advanced educator preparation programs, including the BS in Elementary Education, Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) – Special Education specialization, MS in Education – Educational Leadership and Administration specialization, and EdS in Educational Leadership and Administration. The MAT-SPED, MSED-ELA, and EdS-ELA programs were reviewed by Specialized Professional Associations (SPAs), which define content-area standards for programs, and achieved national recognition. 

CAEP promotes excellence in educator preparation through quality assurance and continuous improvement. Walden’s College of Education and Human Services has earned national accreditation by demonstrating excellence in the areas of content and pedagogy, clinical experiences, selectivity, program impact, and capacity for continuous improvement. CAEP is a Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)-recognized national accreditor for educator preparation. 


  • Kellie Costner

    Kelley Costner

    Dean Dr. Kelley L. Costner currently serves as the Dean for the Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership. Since 2004, Dr. Costner has served in numerous academic positions at Walden University. Prior to becoming Dean of the Riley College, she served as the Dean for the School of Higher Education, Leadership, and Policy in the Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership. She was previously the Associate Dean for the Administration and Postsecondary Education Division in Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership, as well as the Associate Dean for the Master’s Programs and Teacher Preparation Programs in the College of Education at Walden University.

    Dr. Costner has also served in various faculty positions. She was the Faculty Chair for Mentoring and the Director of Research Studies for Walden University’s Ed.D. Programs. Prior to coming to Walden University, Dr. Costner was an Assistant Professor of Reading at the Community College of Baltimore County, and Sr. Research Associate for the Community College Leadership Doctoral Program and Institute for the Development of Multicultural Administrators and Faculty in Community Colleges at Morgan State University.

    Dr. Costner research interests include culturally responsive pedagogy, African American learners, faculty development, and teacher attitudes and beliefs. Dr. Costner holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Morgan State University, a M.Ed. in School Improvement Leadership from Goucher College, and a doctorate in higher education specializing in community college leadership from Morgan State University.


All other degree and certificate programs in the Riley College of Education and Leadership not listed below are not designed or intended to lead to licensure or certification. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether their program of interest may qualify for salary advancement.

Licensure Overview

States issue credentials that allow teachers and other educators (principals, superintendents, school counselors, etc.) to serve in public K–12 schools. These credentials are referred to as licenses or certificates. They are issued in specific academic areas (elementary, special education, secondary math, etc.) and grade levels (K–6, 9–12, K–12, etc.). Being licensed in a specific area means that the teacher or other education professional meets the state standards and is prepared to teach students in that area.

Walden’s Licensure-Leading Education Programs

The state board or department of education creates rules and policies that provide the specific details governing the profession, including licensing requirements. Some states also have state-specific courses or training required, so it is important to understand all of the licensing requirements for the state in which you intend reside. The programs Walden currently offers that lead to licensure are:

Frequently Asked Licensure Questions

Our Licensure FAQ have answers to many common questions.

Conceptual Framework


Walden University has developed a conceptual framework in collaboration with the professional community that articulates the shared vision of the Professional Education Unit’s efforts to prepare educators to work in P–12 schools. This conceptual framework provides the College of Education Unit’s philosophical foundation and serves as a guide for decision making.