Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership

Edgewood College embraces learning that welcomes aspiring leaders from various disciplines and workplaces. Whether you are a higher education professional, non-profit leader, business executive, or K12 educator, our cohort model will support and challenge you through your coursework. A Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) allows for a practical approach to research that encourages you to apply what you are learning to challenges within your field.


The Doctoral Completion Program offers support, expert guidance, and a trusting community of learners to produce scholarly researchers, academic writers, and Edgewood College leaders.

We emphasize four key components with our students:

  1. Coursework specifically focused on the dissertation
  2.  Expert research and writing guidance
  3.  Intensive one-on-one advising
  4.  Peer support via a cohort model


Our program allows you to choose your topic and your dissertation advisor; we provide the support you need to complete your dissertation. We form your committee: a trusted, well-versed, and established team of experts who helps guide you from proposal to defense.

  •  A liaison who schedules, records, and provides expert feedback
  •  An editor who provides keen insight into APA-style academic writing
  •  A faculty representative who gives guidance on your research and writing


Our graduates advance to become college presidents and administrators, K12 superintendents and leaders, and non-profit champions. Each student leaves with strong research skills as both a consumer and practitioner, values-based leadership skills, and the knowledge to lead strategically. 



Education Leadership Doctorate Programs

Educational Leadership, Doctoral Completion Program, Ed.D.

Educational Leadership, K-12 Educational Leadership, Ed.D.


Licensing Information

Education, Superintendent/District Leadership, Licensing



Education Doctorate Faculty and Staff

Subject-matter experts who work in the field of study instruct the content courses. These professionals bring a timely and global view to content material.

Full-time Ph.D. research faculty with experience in publishing and R1 research instruct our research courses.

Our Academic Writing Specialist instructs the dissertation writing courses to guide students through the proper academic style and tone.

Suzanne Otte
Suzanne Otte
Associate Dean for Educational Leadership Programs
School of Education

Suzanne serves as the Director of the EdD and MA Educational Leadership programs. She leads the EdD Research and Writing Center by coordinating consultation and academic writing programming. She is also a Sr. Lecturer who teaches courses in both the Higher Education and Leadership Studies and Doctoral Completion concentrations. Suzanne’s research interests focus on gender inclusive leadership, ethical leadership, and ethical leadership development. She brings over 20 years teaching experience that spans from 6th grade to post-secondary education and in diverse settings. She is a first-generation student who earned her BA from the College of St. Benedict, her MA from Cardinal Stritch University, and her EdD from Edgewood College.

Brian Busler
Brian Busler
K12 Leadership/Master of Arts/Licensing Coordinator

Brian S. Busler is a recently retired school superintendent from Oregon School District and has over thirty-five years of experience as an administrator.  He holds an undergraduate degree in Finance and a master’s degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  In 1992, he earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.  His researched focused on strategic planning, decision-making and school culture.  He has taught graduate classes at Edgewood College and other universities for the past thirty years.  His public-school experiences include improving educational outcomes for all students, leading numerous school/community planning sessions, advancing equity work, leading school referenda and  construction projects, mentoring and training school administrators and a special interest of serving as a Schools of Hope mentor in his previous district.  In his free time, you can find him spending time with his wife and adult children, training on his bicycle and fly fishing in Wisconsin and Montana.

Melinda Verdone
Melinda Verdone

Melinda Verdone, Ed.D. is an experienced higher education professional with a strong focus on supporting first-year, first-generation, and diverse student populations. With an Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Edgewood College, Madison, WI, her research focused on the stress experienced by first-year students in graduate-level health care professional programs. She also holds an M.A.Ed. in Teaching and Learning, also from Edgewood College, and an M.S. in Microbiology from Northern Illinois University. She is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute and holds Illinois Professional Educator and Wisconsin Initial Educator Licenses. Melinda has experience in a variety of teaching and administrative capacities in higher education, including Associate Dean, Academic Program Manager, Educational Specialist, and Faculty.

Reno Wright
Reno Wright
Head Dissertation Liaison
School of Education

Dr. Reno D. Wright is a native of Detroit, MI and has over 20 years of professional leadership and training experience in Workforce Development, Human Services, and Adult Education.  His research interests include traditional versus historical critical interpretive methods used in Christian Education; Black Church history; Black Liberation, Womanist, and Queer theologies; Queer Theory; and the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexual orientation and identity.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Communication at Michigan State University, a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) at Ecumenical Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) at Edgewood College.  Dr. Wright is passionate about social justice, the exploration of systems that have historically marginalized individuals, and empowerment through education.  He is also a pastor at Grace United Church of Christ in Milwaukee, WI.

Education Leadership Doctorate Program Dissertation Support Team

For more than 20 years, the Ed.D. program at Edgewood College has guided students to successful dissertation defense and degree completion. Our graduation rate is approximately 80%, well above the national average. One element of helping students succeed lies in the dissertation support they receive.

Each student is paired with a dissertation advisor during the Applied Research courses, wherein the dissertation advisor, research faculty, and student work together to craft the research question(s) and align methodology.

The dissertation advisor and student continue to work together through the dissertation defense, but along the way, other committee members join to offer support.

Each student receives a dissertation editor skilled in APA, grammar, and academic writing that will provide feedback to ensure readiness for the dissertation proposal and defense.

Students also receive fully formed dissertation committees and extensive program support in scheduling proposal and defense meetings.

Doctoral Dissertation Editors & Liaisons

Margene Anderson
Margene Anderson
Adjunct Instructor

Margene Anderson teaches Ed880: Dissertation Writing and serves on the Edgewood Ed.D. advising team.  Margene has spent over two decades as an educator, first as an English Teacher and Library Media and Technology Teacher in K-12, and then as a Sr. Teaching and Learning Consultant at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.  Margene recently accepted a position as the UW School of Veterinary Medicine's Educational Advancement and Faculty Development Director where she leads educational research, faculty mentoring, and professional development initiatives. Margene's research is focused on clinical reasoning, health professions education, and instructional methods in higher education. Margene holds a Lifetime Teaching License, B.S. in Secondary Education and English from UW - Madsion, a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from UW - Whitewater, a license in administration and Ed.D. in Higher Education and Leadership Studies from Edgewood College.

Kathryn Houseman
Kathryn Houseman
Dissertation Editor

Dr. Houseman brings years of classroom teaching experience from the elementary to graduate school level, as well as experience in curriculum development and assessment. She has been editing doctoral dissertations for more than 10 years and remains committed to researching, organizing, and writing strong, logical, and clearly worded dissertations. Dr. Houseman graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a B.S. degree in Education with teaching concentrations in English and Social Studies and has received an M.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in Reading. In addition, she received a licensure certification in Educational Administration and Curriculum from Edgewood College. She also received a doctoral degree from Edgewood College in Educational Leadership. Her professional interests include the development of literacy and discipline-area literacy strategies, professional development to support literary development, and curriculum development and assessment strategies.

Lynea LaVoy
Lynea LaVoy
Advising Community Liason

Dr. Lynea LaVoy's experiences in the business sector has afforded her the versatility to be an effective leader in the focused areas of hospitality management, servant leadership, higher education, communications, and organizational effectiveness. She currently serves as Department Chair, Program Director and Instructor for Madison College's Hospitality Management program. Lynea dedicates herself to a student-first focused teaching and advising approach and was awarded the 2020 President's Award for Service, 2018 NISOD Excellence in Teaching Award as well as the 2017 Excellence in Teaching, National Society of Leadership and Success. Lynea holds her Doctoral Degree from Edgewood College as well as two Master's Degrees and an undergraduate degree. Lynea is dedicated to serving the community through her vast work with the Oregon Area Food Pantry. Lynea also recently started a podcast called Pineapple Sessions where she discusses and interviews industry leaders on topics such as hospitality, servant leadership, and education. Lynea's work in her role as Doctoral Liaison and Advisor for Edgewood College has allowed her to collaborate with and serve over 30 candidates working on their Higher Education pathways.

Henry St. Maurice
Henry St. Maurice
Dissertation Editor
School of Education

Henry St. Maurice has taught English, special education, and computer science in many settings including elementary and secondary schools as well as rehabilitation programs since his initial licensure in 1969. He has designed, delivered, and evaluated courses in research methodology, teacher induction, supervision of instruction, mentoring, and professional development. He holds B.A. and M.A.T. degrees in comparative literature and English from Wesleyan University (Connecticut), an M. Ed. in special education from the University of Vermont, and a Ph. D. in curriculum & instruction from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

He has participated on editorial boards of Environmental Education Research, International Journal of Leadership in Education, Journal of Curriculum Studies, and Teaching & Teaching Education. He also was an officer of American Educational Research Association Special Interest Groups.

Of his work as an educator, he has said, "As a generalist, I seek knowledge in all fields of study.” His service work with the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy and the Aldo Leopold Foundation are examples of places where disciplined research joins with creative expression to produce knowledge, inform policy, and develop practice.

Mankah Mitchell
Mankah Mitchell
Advising Community Liaison/Editor

Mankah Zama Mitchell has worked with students as an editor and liaison in the Ed.D program since 2016. She earned her B.S. from Howard University, and her J.D./Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests include school law related topics, and she is an attorney for the Madison Metropolitan School District.

Muriel Simms
Muriel Simms
Dissertation Editor/Writing Coach

Dr. Muriel Simms is a lifelong resident of Madison, Wisconsin. She retired from the Madison Metropolitan School District in 2000 after 30 years of service. She taught masters-level courses at Edgewood College and is now on the doctoral faculty at Edgewood College. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English (1968), master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction (1975), her administrator licenses (1988), and her doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2002). Dr. Simms received many awards for her professional duties and community service, one of which was the Wisconsin Elementary Principal of the Year (1992) given by the Wisconsin Association of Elementary School Principals and the Wisconsin and National School Board Associations. Dr. Simms wrote three articles for peer reviewed journals: A Principal Tutors Four Low Achievers in a Third-Grade Mathematics Classroom” (Elementary School Journal, September, 1994), Impressions of Leadership Through a Native Woman’s Eyes (Urban Education, December, 2000), and Teacher Uses Action Research to Develop Culturally Conscious Curriculum Planners (Democracy & Education, November, 2013). She wrote the book Settlin’: Stories of Madison’s Early African American Families in 2018.

Melinda Verdone
Melinda Verdone

Melinda Verdone, Ed.D. is an experienced higher education professional with a strong focus on supporting first-year, first-generation, and diverse student populations. With an Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Edgewood College, Madison, WI, her research focused on the stress experienced by first-year students in graduate-level health care professional programs. She also holds an M.A.Ed. in Teaching and Learning, also from Edgewood College, and an M.S. in Microbiology from Northern Illinois University. She is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute and holds Illinois Professional Educator and Wisconsin Initial Educator Licenses. Melinda has experience in a variety of teaching and administrative capacities in higher education, including Associate Dean, Academic Program Manager, Educational Specialist, and Faculty.

How to Apply to the Education Leadership Doctorate Program


Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. However, priority is given to applicants ahead of the start of the Fall semester.

To apply to Edgewood College’s Ed.D. completion program:

  • Complete and submit the Ed.D. application
  • Request official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate academic credits received from any post-secondary institutions be sent either via electronically to gps@edgewood.edu or USPS to Edgewood College at:

 Graduate and Professional Studies
1000 Edgewood College Drive
Madison, WI 53711

  •  Provide CV or resume
  •  Provide contact information for three references that can speak to your academic potential and professional work


Admission to the Doctoral Completion Program is based on a holistic assessment of prior learning, professional experience, and commitment to the completion of the degree. To qualify, you will need:

  • Transcript(s) of 24 post-master’s degree credits. Credits must:
    • Be earned within the last 20 years
    • Be doctoral-level credits earned at a regionally accredited institution
    • Be in an education-related or educational leadership field (*applicants who have significant work experience in the field of education or educational leadership who earned doctoral credits in a field other than education may be considered for acceptance)
    • Demonstrate a minimum GPA of 3.0 in doctoral-level coursework


Priority admission will be given to those who have a Dissertation Prospectus that includes:

  • A clear and supported articulation of a research problem to be examined through a qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods research study
  • A description that outlines the purpose of the study
  • A description of the research method(s) that will be utilized to collect data
  • An initial plan for carrying out the study


Contact the Graduate Office of Admissions with questions at: 608-663-4299 or gps@edgewood.edu

International students may have additional admission requirements. Learn more.


Transfer Credits

Upon regular admission, a transfer student applicant may submit up to 10 semester hours of graduate credit from other United States regionally accredited (or equivalent) post-secondary institutions for consideration of transfer to Edgewood College. Approval of the respective department is required. To be considered for application to a degree program, a course must have been taken within the past five years and must have a "B" or better grade in courses receiving a letter grade of "A" through "F" (if the grade is "P" the equivalency is determined by the appropriate school or department). The course must also be relevant to the degree program to which it is being applied and must not have been applied toward another degree.

Grades from transfer courses are not computed in the Edgewood College GPA. Applicants should make known to the program director any course credit to be submitted for review for transfer upon application if those credits fall within the policy requirements.

Tuition and Financial Aid


For tuition information please visit our Tuition and Financial Aid page


Completion Equals Success

Tuition is only one factor in choosing an education doctorate program. Completion rates are another important element of doctoral programs. Edgewood College boasts an 80% completion rate, compared to 57% at other institutions. Attending Edgewood College and completing your higher education leadership degree is a smart investment of time and money. 

Our individual attention to student support helps guide students 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.

Career Outcomes for Education Leadership Doctorate Program Graduates

Students who graduate from Edgewood College's education leadership doctorate program can expect to fill a multitude of leadership positions across educational organizations. Your vast knowledge of public policy will also give you the opportunity to work in government agencies.

Chief Academic Officer

As a chief academic officer, you will be in charge of helping your K12 school or higher education institution craft an education program that allows prospective students to develop skills and knowledge that will enable them to grow as professionals and people. From top to bottom, you will oversee the educational systems that enrich the minds of tomorrow.

This role will also require you to manage the long-term financial goals of your institution, organize student affairs, and recruit education professionals.

Data analysis from Payscale shows the average base salary for a chief academic officer is $143,912.


Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal

As a school principal, you will be at the center of it all.

K12 principals oversee school operations, manage staff, help to coordinate curriculums, and cultivate a positive learning environment for students.

School principals also ensure students and teachers are following all school policies.

In this administrative role, no two days will look alike. Some days may be spent meeting with school district leaders, while other days, you might be leading a school pep rally.

You will be compensated well for your dedication to the education process. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for elementary, middle school, and high school principals is $98,420.


Education Research Associate

Education research associates have the flexibility to work in both the public and private sectors.

In the public sector, you will work alongside government officials to help them craft educational policies that ensure students are getting a well-developed education at all levels. Your days will be spent researching education data to help guide public education policy. According to FederalPay.org, an educational researcher employed by the federal government can expect to make $135,066 annually.

You can also choose to work for an individual school or university to help them craft curriculums for their programs.


K12 District Administrators/Superintendents

School administrators play a vital role in improving the learning environment and academic progress of students across K12 campuses.

As a district administrator, you're the top-level manager in your school district, overseeing every aspect of its operations — from curriculum development to student discipline tactics. Your work entails providing instructional leadership while developing, executing, and evaluating district and school systems and their policies.

You may also land a role as a superintendent or central admission staff working under the direction of a school board to ensure student success.

According to Salary.com, superintendents earn an average of $173,009 a year in the U.S., with district administrators seeing salaries at $115,933.

Student Testimonials

"The professionals at Edgewood College were personable and highly effective for supporting my learning needs. My Advisor Dr. Suzanne Otte-Allen was a mentor and friend who went above and beyond to share her expertise and experience. I am constantly telling my colleagues about the amazing doctoral program Edgewood offers to learners of all ages. Thank you, Edgewood College for helping me fulfill the goal of becoming the first doctor in my family."

- Nakia Wiley, Doctoral Candidate


"Thank you, Edgewood College, for helping me to attain the pinnacle of my educational aspirations. Thank you for preparing me for greater ministerial work in the vineyard of life. More importantly, thank you for enabling me to become an agent of change capable of positively affecting that which I would normally only complain about."

- William McCoy, Ed.D. '10, Director, Rutland Institute for Ethics, Clemson University

Learn More About the Education Leadership Doctorate Program at Edgewood College

Edgewood College's Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership will prepare you to help guide the thinkers of tomorrow. The research and leadership skills you gain will allow you to choose from management positions across education and related fields.

Start your application to begin your journey towards education leadership.

Links of Interest
Full Catalog
Leading Edge Newsletter '21
Ed.D. Research and Writing Center