Baylor School of Education Launches Ed.D. in K-12 Leadership

  • Full-Size Image: EDD Program 1
    Baylor University School of Education Dean Michael McLendon, Ph.D., addresses the first Baylor SOE Ed.D. cohort. (Meg Cullar/School of Education)
  • Full-Size Image: EDD Program 2
    Cohort One of Baylor's newly launched Ed.D. program includes 12 students, pictured with faculty Dr. John E. Wilson (far left) and Dr. Karen Rue (far right). (Meg Cullar/School of Education)
June 19, 2017

Media contact: Tonya B. Lewis, (254) 710-4656

WACO, Texas (June 19, 2017) — Baylor University School of Education launched a new Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in K-12 Educational Leadership in June, marking the School’s return to the field of superintendent preparation.

“The School of Education is pleased to once again engage in the preparation of educational leaders at the highest levels of K-12 schooling,” said Michael McLendon, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education and Ed.D. program faculty member. “There is no question that the leadership of a school or system is highly significant in determining student success, and it is imperative that Baylor University be in this arena, preparing leaders within a data-driven, character-based framework.”

The Baylor Ed.D. is a cohort-based, practitioner-oriented doctoral program for leaders of schools, educational systems and agencies. Designed for working education professionals, the program prepares highly qualified practitioners to lead K-12 education institutions, while refining skills for executive positions in public and private educational systems or agencies.

The first cohort began classes on Thursday, June 8, and held classes and orientation activities through the weekend. To accommodate the schedules of working educators, Baylor Ed.D. courses are taught in intense, concentrated segments over weekends and during the summer. All of the current students will continue their careers in educational leadership while they complete the program.

The cohort will advance through the program as a group, with a completion date of August 2020. Another cohort will be admitted in June each year.

Program director John E. Wilson, Ph.D., clinical professor of K-12 educational leadership, said the School of Education should be proud of the diversity of backgrounds and the educational and leadership achievements represented by the first cohort of students.

“The application process included personal interviews with each candidate and an on-site writing requirement,” Wilson said. “While that level of scrutiny is a challenge for everyone involved, it has yielded a cohort of forward-thinking, high-quality professionals with a passion for improving their abilities to impact student success. We are extremely pleased with the quality of the inaugural class for the Ed.D.”

The first cohort of 12 students includes educators from a variety of disciplines, including leaders in special education, science education and community relations. Several are principals or associate principals, while others hold leadership positions in district offices. Eleven are employed in public schools or systems, while one student is a private school dean.

To be admitted to the program, students must already hold a master’s degree and have experience in educational leadership. The cohort members hold degrees from a variety of institutions, including Yale University, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Marquette University, Texas A&M University, Texas Women’s University, George Washington University and Baylor University.

Wilson, having served as a superintendent of schools for two decades before coming to the School of Education, brings practical expertise to the program. With more than four decades of experience as a professional educator, he served seven different public school districts in a 34-year career.

Wilson said the Ed.D. curriculum is designed to provide rigorous challenges for the students, creating a blend of theory and practice that will serve the students well for their entire careers. In addition to coursework, the program includes a mentored clinical experience and a dissertation-in-practice, for which students will be trained in qualitative judgments and also will focus on scientific inquiry through organizing, analyzing and interpreting large data sets to address complex problems of practice.

Also added to the program faculty this summer was Karen Rue, Ed.D., who joined the School of Education faculty as clinical professor of K-12 educational leadership after 37 years in education, including 11 years as superintendent of Northwest ISD. Rue has served as president of Urban Superintendents of America Association, the Texas Association of School Administrators, Fast Growth Schools Coalition and Texas Association of Suburban/Mid-Urban Schools. She was the 2014 Region XI Superintendent of the Year and a 2016 Women in School Leadership Award Finalist for the American Association of School Administrators.

The cohort launched with three courses this summer, and then students will take two courses in the fall semester. Ed.D. courses are taught by program faculty, including Wilson and Rue, and also by award-winning superintendents throughout Texas. Additionally, the School of Education has begun a national search for tenured faculty who will teach in the program and conduct scholarship on important aspects of K-12 educational leadership and policy.

by Meg Cullar, Baylor University School of Education


Founded in 1919, Baylor School of Education ranks among the nation’s top 20 education schools located at private universities. The School’s research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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