K-12 Educational Leadership, Ed.D.

Program Highlights:
  • No GRE requirement to enroll
  • 85% student completion rate, well above the national average of 50%
  • 24 credits 
  • Courses held in-person and/or virtually based on student need
  • Access to a network of over 125 Edgewood College superintendent graduates
  • Access to expert academic writing and scholarly research support
  • Automatic acceptance into the Doctoral Completion Program, culminating in Ed.D.
  • 100% of students in our program who apply to DPI earn their license

Program Overview and Description:

The K-12 concentration prepares you for a position as a superintendent or school leadership position. 

In the PK-12 Educational Leadership concentration, you will:

  • Grow your competence as a school leader
  • Participate in field-based experiences  
  • Engage in research to inform your work and dissertation
  • Learn how to lead ethically, justly, and with compassion

The Doctor of Education program is approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for PK-12 administration licenses. Students who have successfully completed the 24 credits in the  Superintendent/ District Leadership Licensure Program are automatically accepted into the 30-credit Doctoral Completion Program to complete the K-12 Educational Leadership, Ed.D.

Click to see an example of course sequencing beginning in Fall (August) 2022. Click to see the 30 credits of the Doctoral Completion Program.

Click here to view our fully online programs site.


Industry Stats:

Most senior positions in education and educational administration require an Ed.D. Having an Ed.D. allows you to advance within your current organization or to acquire a new job.

  • The median salary for a Superintendent in Wisconsin is $165,419.




Admission Requirements


Fall 2023 application deadline - The priority application deadline for the K 12 Doctoral program is August 1, 2023. Applications received after August 1 will be reviewed and accepted on a space-available basis.

  1. Complete and submit the Ed.D. application
  2. Provide evidence of a master's degree from a regionally accredited or equivalent post-secondary institution with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for regular admission status. The cumulative grade point average is computed on the highest degree held at the time of application to the Edgewood College graduate program.
  3. To qualify for the superintendent license, you must supply evidence of eligibility to hold a teacher or pupil services license in Wisconsin and demonstrate appropriate experience.
  4. Request that official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate academic credits received from any post-secondary institutions be sent directly to Edgewood College.
  5. Provide two letters of recommendation. Letters must attest to the applicant's ability to collaborate with colleagues and be successful as an educational leader.
  6. Submit a letter of intent describing the reason for pursuing the advanced educational leadership licensing, and about how the program can help the applicant reach personal and professional goals.
  7. Provide a resume or curriculum vitae that includes: but it not limited to the areas listed below:
    • Education: Major(s), schools attended, degrees obtained and dates of attendance
    • Professional positions held

Applicants may also include:

  • Presentations made to organizations, groups and professional associations
  • Honors/ awards received
  • Memberships in professional and other organizations
  • Community Service: Name(s) of organizations, description of activities and positions held
  • International Students may have additional admission requirements.

Course Requirements


ED800 Ethical and Inclusive Leadership I - 3 credits 8 week blended course

This two-part course will provide a comprehensive overview of leadership at the superintendent, district, principal, and teacher levels. In Part I, various models of leadership in K-12 private and public settings are examined. Analyses of leadership quadrants and strengths of individual leadership styles are completed. Academic writing and applied research skills are stressed. Guest presenters who are working in current roles of leadership supplement and enhance reading and writing assignments and activities. The value and impact of professional associations and the role of social media in leadership will be examined. An observation and analysis of a school board meeting is required. Standards and guidelines for all assignments are provided.

ED802 Ethical and Inclusive Leadership II - 3 Credits 8 week blended course

For those who aspire to leadership roles in Wisconsin public and private schools, Part II of the course will use criteria set forth by the Department of Public Instruction, and Wisconsin Statutes and Standards : knowing teacher obligations; creating a vision for education; the need for awareness of the inclusive and diverse needs of students, nurturing a school culture of continuous improvement; managing resources of the organization; collaborating with others, acting with integrity in an ethical manner; and interacting with the larger community politically, socially, legally, and economically to affect educational improvements. Additionally, students will begin the process of identifying their dissertation topic and employ research practices as they perform applied research relevant to their topic and/or their current educational position. A culminating project focusing on leadership aspects of a student selected issue or problem is required.

ED803 Practicum Development - 1 credit 8 week blended course

The practicum is a three-semester placement with a mentor where the candidate can obtain real-time information, examples, and experiences relating directly to the Seven Wisconsin Administrative Standards. In this course, students will work with the instructor to consider licensing options and review the content guidelines for desired licenses. During the development phase of the practicum, qualified mentors will be identified, and the mentor/mentee relationship will be formally established.

ED 804 Political and Policy Leadership - 3 Credits

The relationship between politics, educational policy, and educational practice is explored in its broadest sense. Particular emphasis is given to political and leadership theories, their practical application and the role of leadership in developing and implementing policy in the political environment within and outside of educational organizations. Politics and policy are discussed within an ethical framework of social justice and equity. Content will be applied in a variety of class experiences, mentoring activities, and related field assignments.

ED805 Practicum Experience - 1 credit 8 week online course

The practicum is a three-semester placement with a mentor where the candidate can obtain real-time information, examples, and experiences relating directly to the Seven Wisconsin Administrative Standards and licensed content guidelines. The partnership design of the practicum experience blends coursework and reflection with practical experience. The application of learning and research under the guidance of a school district mentor or doctoral faculty member provides the structured “hands-on” experience required to fulfill the licensing requirement as well.

ED806 School District Human Resource Management - 3 Credits 8 week blended course

This course examines how to manage human resources effectively in the dynamic political, legal, social, and economic environment currently impacting schools. Among the topics included are: recruitment and retention; training and development; workforce diversity; organizational structure and job design; performance evaluation; and, compensation models. Students will gain a solid understanding of the fundamentals of human resource management and its strategic relevance in K-12 education. By providing a practical perspective on the development of human capital in intensely “people-oriented” organization, students will develop a conceptual framework of how to create a system of attracting, retaining and developing talent that creates and supports the vision and values of the school district.

ED808 School District Law - 3 credits 8 week blended course

This course offers a case study approach to school law in the areas as staff, student, district, and personnel law as well as broader state and federal categories such as tort liability, civil rights, gender equity, and facility administration. Legal issues of inclusion and diversity will be examined. Ethical and leadership implications of legal issues will be explored under the tutelage of experienced and dedicated specialized educational lawyers and certified district administrators. Completion of several projects are required with the focus on expanding knowledge of how to address applied legal issues in a K-12 setting.

ED807 Practicum Reflection - 1 credit 8 week blended course

The practicum is a three-semester placement with a mentor where the candidate can obtain real-time information, examples, and experiences relating directly to the Seven Wisconsin Administrative Standards and licensed content guidelines. The reflection phase of the practicum allows the cohort to share their mentorship experience, providing additional insights and cooperative learning to the practicum experience. Students will also finalize their licensure portfolio as a part of this course.

ED 812 Curriculum, Instruction, and Inclusive Learning Environments - 3 Credits 8 week blended course

Curriculum, instruction, assessment, and the learning environment are stressed in a context emphasizing organizational frameworks for management and leadership; leadership roles in staff development; learning theory, human development, and ethical considerations of supporting teaching and learning at the district level. Consideration of multicultural understanding and responding to individual differences are emphasized in the process of creating professional learning communities. Specific attention is given to emergent research in learning style, cognition, intelligence, constructivism in theory and practice. Candidates are required to research curriculum issues and to apply course content to district and/or department situations in a variety of class experiences and mentoring relationships.

ED 814 School District Budget and Finance - 3 credits 8 week blended course

This course will provide a substantive approach to public school finance at the school district level. Students will gain a practical understanding of the Wisconsin Uniform Financial Accounting Requirements (WUFAR), state and local funding systems, and tax impacts as related to Wisconsin school finance. This course will also cover technological applications and ethical considerations specific to districtwide leadership positions. Students will have the opportunity to research specific topics of interest within the scope of school finance and budget.

ED816 - 3 credits

This course is designed for students in the K12 administrative program who did not pursue the superintendent license but who wish to pursue the Ed.D. in educational leadership. The course introduces K12 leaders to the theory and practice of action research to prepare them for engaging in the dissertation research and writing process.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Pursuing your doctorate in education (Ed.D.) is the next step for many educators looking to expand their career opportunities. An Ed.D. not only adds to your professional qualifications but it builds your network, deepens your understanding of research methods, and strengthens your academic writing.

Some students interested in a doctorate in education question the value of earning a Ph.D. vs. an Ed.D. This article in Inside Higher Ed provides a brief comparison of the strengths of each degree.

The Chronicle of Higher Education compiles information on the salaries paid to senior administrative positions. Learn more about the compensation you might expect for various positions at higher education institutions.

Tuition and Credits

Courses in the Superintendent/District Leadership License sequence are offered at the tuition rate for licenses. These credits can be applied toward the Ed.D in Educational Leadership and take an additional 30 credits at the doctoral tuition rate.

Tuition and Financial Aid information for license and master’s programs.

Completion Equals Success

Tuition is only one factor in choosing a program. Completion rates are another important element of doctoral programs. Edgewood College boasts an 85 percent completion rate, compared to 57 percent at other institutions.

Therefore, your chances of attending Edgewood College and completing your degree are much higher, making it a smart investment of both time and money.

Our individual attention to student support helps guide each student through meaningful, engaging coursework, research, and dissertation completion.

Financial Aid

Graduate students are eligible for financial aid in the form of Federal Stafford Loans. Learn more about Stafford Loans, including eligibility requirements and application instructions.

Links of Interest
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