Education Leadership (Ed.D); Superintendent Certification

Faculty Contact: Dr. Sara Lawrence  (903) 223-3095,; Program Chair

Eligibility for Admission 

Those interested in applying for admission must meet the following:

  • Completed Master's degree
  • Documented evidence of strong academic achievement and scholarship ability
  • Interest in leadership role and commitment to education

Admission Requirements

Admission to the doctoral program in Education Leadership is a competitive process. With each cohort, the department receives more applications from qualified students than can be accepted. Consequently, application materials should be carefully prepared to present the student in the most positive light.

Students may be admitted year-round to start their cognate coursework; cohort coursework begins in the spring semester. Cognate courses are graduate courses (12 SCH) beyond an initial master's degree that meet a candidate's long-term goals. Cognate courses may include but are not limited to, principal or superintendent certification courses or higher education courses. Cognates must be approved by the program chair. Doctoral students must apply to and be accepted by the A&M‑Texarkana Scholars of Practice doctoral program to receive financial aid. 

Applications are accepted year-round. A list of current admission requirements is located on the doctoral program website

Packet Review: Graduate Admissions forwards completed applications to the program chair for review by the education leadership faculty. Upon review, the committee will invite the student for an online interview.

Interviews: The interview is 15-20 minutes in length. The committee members score applicant interviews using a rubric.

Admission: The committee will recommend a cohort of students for approval by the Office of Graduate Studies. 

Notification: The Office of Graduate Studies will notify applicants regarding their admission status.

Orientation: An orientation for those admitted to the new cohort is held on a Saturday in November. It is highly encouraged for all admitted to attend the orientation.

Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.D) Degree Requirements

Students should refer to their DegreeWorks degree audit in their Web for Students account for more information regarding their degree requirements.

Core Courses
EDLD 611Doctoral Seminar3
EDLD 612Strategic Management and Change3
EDLD 622Communication for Organizational Leaders3
EDLD 625Field Study in National and International Cultural Perspectives3
or HUMA 693 Field Study in US Cross-Cultural Diversity
EDLD 626Improvement Science for Education Leadership3
EDLD 627Organizational Theory for Public Schools and Higher Education3
EDLD 632Contemporary Issues in Educational Leadership3
EDLD 670Critical Conversations and Team Building3
Leadership Cognate
EDLD 690Leadership of the Education Community3
EDLD 691Superintendent Leadership in Public Schools3
EDLD 694Instructional Leadership3
EDLD 698Administrative Leadership3
Research Tools
EDLD 650Investigating Phenomena Using Quantifiable Data3
EDLD 661Dissertation Prospectus Development3
EDLD 662Methods of Inquiry3
EDLD 663Statistical Methods in Educational Leadership3
12 sch of Dissertation Research:12
Dissertation Research 1
Program Total60

 EDLD 693 may not be taken until Comprehensive Exams are successfully passed and the student is admitted to candidacy.  Although this course must be consecutively taken (minimum of 12sch) until the dissertation is successfully defended, effective with this program change - only 12sch may be applied to the degree requirements.

Doctoral Courses in Education Leadership and Superintendent Cognate Course

EDLD 611. Doctoral Seminar. 3 Hours.

The Doctoral Seminar provides support and information to help graduate students in the Doctor of Education programs to successfully navigate the doctoral process. This course will focus on graduate level writing skills, writing literature reviews, APA formatting, use of library and university systems, and requisite skills to be successful in the program. Prerequisite: Admission into the doctoral program.

EDLD 612. Strategic Management and Change. 3 Hours.

To succeed in the future, leaders must develop the resources and capabilities needed to gain and sustain an advantage in traditional and emerging education systems. The focus of this course will be the strategic management for successful change with respect to the intended direction and goals of the organization; the organization’s strengths and weaknesses; the current system structure; and the social, political, technological, economic, and global environments. Leaders must have a solid understanding of how to influence organizational change that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion for all.

EDLD 622. Communication for Organizational Leaders. 3 Hours.

Communication style and effectiveness of organizational leaders greatly impacts the success of individual education organizations. Knowledge of the pervasive impact of the computer, Internet, intranet, and other communication modalities will be integrated with time-honored communication principles to enable students to maximize their effectiveness in dynamic educational environments. In addition to community and internal organizational communication, students will focus on leading meetings, presentation skills, and dealing with criticism and conflict. Prerequisite: Admission to the doctoral program.

EDLD 623. Education Marketing and Public Relations. 3 Hours.

Effective public relations skills are essential to much of the success in private and public spheres. Public relations efforts address how we wish to present ourselves to others and how to deal with the perceptions of who others believe we are. A successful public relations program helps build and maintain positive relationships through an open exchange of information between and among internal and external stakeholders of an organization. This course will help prepare students to engage in successful marketing and public relations to promote a variety of efforts, including fundraising, bond issues, and other priority efforts in the public administration arena.

EDLD 624. Applied Instructional Technologies. 3 Hours.

This course provides students with an overview of current topics, trends and issues affecting technology and technological needs in education (PK-12 and higher education). Special attention will be placed on current technology related trends and issues that affect leaders in education. Prerequisite: Admission to the doctoral program.

EDLD 625. Field Study in National and International Cultural Perspectives. 3 Hours.

This course serves to broaden students' cultural and sociological perspectives in education through regional, national or international travel. Prerequisite: Admission to the doctoral program.

EDLD 626. Improvement Science for Education Leadership. 3 Hours.

This course focuses on developing the scholarly practitioner who is equity-minded namely by building capacity in improvement science. While the pedagogy of improvement science will be the crux of the discourse, there will be a strong emphasis in data examination where students will learn how to identify an area for improvement and collect additional data using an equity audit. Students will explore and understand how to develop a root cause analysis and examine research on their problem. Ultimately students will be able to design a theory of improvement that includes aim statements, primary drivers, secondary drivers, and possible change ideas.

EDLD 627. Organizational Theory for Public Schools and Higher Education. 3 Hours.

Understanding organization theory provides a framework for leaders to impact change in a manner that supports student diversity, equity, and inclusion. This course will examine key features along with strengths and weaknesses of established theoretical foundations. In addition, doctoral students will explore theoretical approaches that support explanation current phenomena and issues in education.

EDLD 632. Contemporary Issues in Educational Leadership. 3 Hours.

This course explores contemporary issues that educational leaders face as they continue to lead organizations to higher levels of performance and achievement. A strong emphasis is placed on examining current problems in education that contribute to ongoing inequities in education. A variety of topics such as current legal, political, social, cultural and economic issues as they relate to educational policy and decision-making will be discussed. Prerequisite: Admission to the doctoral program.

EDLD 650. Investigating Phenomena Using Quantifiable Data. 3 Hours.

Education leaders must be able to analyze, interpret and report on increasingly large amounts of available data. To do so, leaders must be able to ask logical questions addressing relevant issues that make data meaningful. Education leaders must be able to conduct quantitative research ethically and in a manner that appropriately informs policy and practice. Prerequisite: C or better in EDLD 663.

EDLD 661. Dissertation Prospectus Development. 3 Hours.

This course explores the theory, design frameworks, and how they relate to research methodologies in education. Various applications of research and procedures including quantitative analyses, naturalistic inquiry, research design, and preparation of research proposals as they relate to the discipline of educational administration constitute the core topics of this course. The end product of this course will be Chapter 1 of the dissertation proposal. Prerequisite: Admission to the doctoral program. This course is to be taken in the final semester of course work before dissertation.

EDLD 662. Methods of Inquiry. 3 Hours.

As an in-depth study of the theoretical and methodological approaches to qualitative research, students will explore the sociological/anthropological roots of qualitative research and apply these methodologies in practical situations related to executive leadership in education. The research approaches studied in this course include: ethnography, phenomenology, case studies, grounded theory, naturalistic inquiry, and thematic synthesis. Technologies that assist qualitative researchers in their investigations are utilized throughout this course. The development of doctoral research proposals, using qualitative research methods, is emphasized through this course. Prerequisite: Admission to the doctoral program.

EDLD 663. Statistical Methods in Educational Leadership. 3 Hours.

The course is designed to provide the student with the knowledge and skills needed to read, analyze, and synthesize educational research to give the student necessary fundamentals to develop and conduct doctoral level research. As an in-depth study of the theoretical and methodological approaches to quantitative research, students explore foundations of quantitative research and apply these methodologies in practical situations related to executive leadership in education. The research processes studied in this course include: univariate statistics, including the use of Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) with exercises related to various descriptive and inferential statistical techniques, and survey and action research analysis and design. The development of doctoral research proposals, using quantitative research methods, is emphasized throughout this course. Prerequisite: Admission to the doctoral program.

EDLD 670. Critical Conversations and Team Building. 3 Hours.

Building collaborative teams that are cohesive with accountability and purpose requires specific skills and training that is crucial for successful education leaders in a variety of settings. This course will focus on the critical communication skills necessary to manage personnel effectively, having critical conversations and best practices in team building. This course provides the opportunity for students to develop these skills and apply them in varied settings.

EDLD 690. Leadership of the Education Community. 3 Hours.

This course is designed to provide prospective public school superintendents/CEOs and other executive leaders with the knowledge and skills incorporated in Domain I of the test framework for Texas Superintendent Standards - Leadership of the Educational Community. The competencies included with Domain I address: (1) acting with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner; (2) the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a vision of learning; (3) communication and collaboration with families and community members, including mobilizing community resources; and (4) responding to the political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context, including working with governance boards. The application of sound leadership principles developed in the business sector will be translated into effective strategies for the leadership of large governmental agencies. Prerequisite: Acceptance into the Educator Preparation Program or instructor permission.

EDLD 691. Superintendent Leadership in Public Schools. 3 Hours.

Translating all Texas standards for superintendent certification into action is the focus of this experiential-based course. The course of study encompasses the culmination of the analysis, synthesis, and application of the skills and knowledge needed to begin a career as a Texas public school superintendent, assistant superintendent, or district administrator. The content of the course is designed into broad categories organized by the State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) proficiencies for the Texas Superintendent’s Certificate into three domains: leadership of the educational community, instructional leadership, and administrative leadership. Within the three domains, all eight of the educator standards for the superintendency are organized and further defined by competencies required to demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to be a successful entry-level superintendent or district administrator. Participating in leadership projects, activities, discussions, interviews, and shadowing experiences provide a context for students to garner the knowledge and skills necessary for successful executives. Learning sites include private businesses, local or state government and/or management, Texas public schools, Texas public school support institutions, non-profit organizations, and/or others as determined appropriate on an individual basis. In order to experience the whole year’s cycle of skills and knowledge required of superintendents, the assignments and experiences are woven throughout all four courses in the Superintendent Certification Program. Students document their learning with an electronic portfolio and mastery of the Comprehensive Examination.

EDLD 693. Dissertation Research. 1-3 Hours.

A candidate must present a dissertation acceptable to the student's advisory committee and the Dean for Graduate Studies and Research on a problem in the area of specialization. To be acceptable, the dissertation must give evidence that the candidate has pursued a program of research, the results of which reveal superior academic competence and a significant contribution to knowledge. The focus of this course is to complete the final chapter of the dissertation and defend the dissertation. This course may be repeated until successful defense of the dissertation. Prerequisite: Instructor Approval and admission to candidacy.

EDLD 694. Instructional Leadership. 3 Hours.

Leadership at the chief executive officer (CEO) level is the theme of this standards-based course. The application of strategic planning skills to enhance teaching and learning; to ensure alignment among curriculum, curriculum resources, and assessment; and to support the collection and use of multiple measures of success are promulgated through the requirements of this course. Emphasis is placed on skills designed to advocate, nurture, and sustain an instructional program and a culture that supports student learning and staff professional growth. Staff evaluation, improving staff performance, and effective models of supervision are emphasized. Prerequisite: Principal certification or Program Director's approval.

EDLD 698. Administrative Leadership. 3 Hours.

Public school finance at the superintendent level and the general operation of the business office and other peripheral support functions of a public school will be studied. Related topics include student food services, transportation, facility management, maintenance and construction, development and marketing of bond elections, human resource management, district level budget development and management, data managment/analysis, and safe schools. Technology based infrastructure that supports student, personnel, and financing management will also be evaluated. The application of organizational, decision-making and problem-solving skills to facilitate position in varied contexts. Prerequisite: Principal certification or Program Director's approval.

HUMA 693. Field Study in US Cross-Cultural Diversity. 3 Hours.

This course serves to broaden students' cultural and sociological perspective in education. The variability of religious practices, values, identity, language, and socio-cultural conditions of major US ethnic representative groups will be examined both in a global context and in reference to contemporary American society. The course provides sutdents with strategies to use knowledge of ethnocentric variability and of hte human conditions of these groups in order to make appropriate leadership decisions. It explores these issues through readings, discussions, lectures, films, case studies, and direct experience of the human experience of minorities in nearby communities or abroad. Cross-listed with EDLD 625, Field Study in National and International Cultural Perspectives. Prerequisite: Admission to the Doctoral program.

Department of Education Leadership Faculty

Sara Lawrence, Ph.D.

Kathy Lease, Ed.D.

Trisha Gerrish Ray, Ed.D.

Rebeca Cooper, Ed.D.

Adjunct Faculty

Robin Rogers, Ed.D.