Educational (K-12) Leadership


The K-12 Educational Leadership concentration is now closed to further enrollment.  Students already enrolled in the program will be fully supported through completion of their program of study, but following their graduation, the concentration will be discontinued.

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Admission Criteria
Curriculum Chart    
Course Catalog 
Advising Worksheet 

Careers in Educational (K-12) Leadership:

JMU’s doctoral program in Educational (K-12) Leadership is one of few in the country that is cross-disciplinary and offers a combination of practical skills and leadership theory, which you can bring to your work in K-12 Education as a:

  • Superintendent, assistant superintendent, curriculum/instructional specialist
  • Principal (K-12)
  • College professor of education (content area and leadership)
  • Consultant
  • Educational Research Academic

This program will serve you well if you…

  • aspire to, or already work in, a position in K-12 administration, academics, or consulting.
  • have at least 3-5 years of experience in the field of K-12 education.
  • would like to be a part-time or full-time student.
  • need evening or Saturday classes to fit your work schedule.

What makes this program unique?

A Ph.D. from the School of Strategic Leadership Studies is unique because it has cross-disciplinary courses and promotes competency and innovative application of knowledge in: 

  • school governance
  • instructional and curricular leadership
  • administrative, teacher and student performance measures
  • leadership theory
  • ethics
  • financial structures
  • public-private partnerships
  • advocacy and fundraising
  • externship and dissertation experiences

Success Stories

Abbott Keesee was promoted to Coordinator of Student Services at Rockbridge County High School in Lexington, Virginia.

What do you like best about your new position? 
Abbott: “My new position as a High School Student Services Coordinator allows me to work with teachers and monitor data to spot areas of concern and address them by implementing or arranging for appropriate services or interventions.  What I like most about this job is the opportunity to arrange help for those students, who need it the most.” 

How are you applying what you are learning in your Ph.D. classes? 
Abbott: “My Strategic Leadership Program classes have helped equip me with the confidence, analytical skills, and resource management skills I need to be successful.”            

Frequently Asked Questions

Why, and how much, does the program emphasize business?
The degree we offer is a Ph.D. in Strategic Leadership.  All aspects of the program are tied to effective leadership practices, strategies, concepts and theories, and there are 12 hours of coursework in educational instructional leadership. The business core is part of the degree because when designing the curriculum, current and retired superintendents were interviewed and reported the business of running a school division, especially in this political and economic climate, is what they would study if they returned to school. Our current students have responded very favorably to the business courses and are using what they learned in their current educational leadership positions.

Does the degree impact VA DOE licensure?
The degree qualifies students for a VA Superintendent's license. 

Are courses offered during the day or evenings and weekends?
Courses are currently offered during the day (for those, who are not working), during evenings and on Saturdays. Also, some of the MBA courses are offered online. 

K-12 Resources

Webinars by Education Week (upcoming and recorded)