Known for its highly rated education programs at the bachelor's and master's levels, Saint Leo University unveiled its first-ever Doctor of Education (EdD) in School Leadership program this fall.

Exploring the Doctor of Education Program

Saint Leo's EdD program offers a degree geared toward those seeking hands-on roles at higher levels of administration within individual schools, school districts, or in related educational organizations. EdD graduates typically have previous teaching and administrative experience and usually, upon earning this degree, oversee education programs at the school, district, or organizational level to ensure students are being successful.

Graduates will have the ability to engage all stakeholders in successful student achievement and school success, identify and solve problems through application of critical analysis, create and sustain partnerships, and effectively identify and apply components of action research, change theory, strategic planning, and collaborative decision-making to improve the student learning experience.

This is an online program with a week-long residency at University Campus. This is a three-year cohort program, and students must complete a total of 60 credit hours of coursework, which includes dissertation hours. The completion of the first 39 credit hours results in conferral of an Education Specialist (EdS) degree.

From the Director's View

Dr. Fern Aefsky, the director of Saint Leo's Graduate Studies in Education program, states that it was a planned university goal to offer this degree.

"As a leading institution of preparing educational and organizational leaders, this EdD is the result of our ultimate goal to offer education degrees at each level," Aefsky says. "We are proud to say that our instructors are current or former Pre-k-12 administrators or experts in their fields, which provides students in this practitioner-based doctoral program with many experiential learning opportunities."

EdD Students Offer Glowing Reviews

Tara Shemwick-Brewer earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees from Saint Leo. She had no hesitation of enrolling in the university's EdD program.

"After such a great experience during my undergrad studies and my master's program, I wanted to further my education by earning an EdD," she says. "Receiving my EdD will allow more opportunities for me to expand my career at higher levels."

She has thoroughly enjoyed the perks of being in the program.

"My experience has exceeded all my expectations. It has been so rewarding and has created great friendships and resources to help further my career. Building relationships is the key to success, and this program has gone above that to make this happen."

Jennifer Mills, who earned her master's in education from Saint Leo, loves the fact that she can pursue a doctorate on her own terms.

"Saint Leo provides a flexible setting that suits my busy life," Mills says. "This program allows me to meet my educational goals while balancing career and family."

Having a network around her has been a tremendous benefit, she adds.

"The best aspect of the program is the family relationships that are built among classmates and faculty," she says. "I feel supported and able to succeed due to these relationships."

In addition to a challenging curriculum, Mills believes the university's core values play a major role in separating the program from others.

"Saint Leo's core values have been my biggest takeaway. The infusion of core values in the coursework has helped me to be a better educator and person. It has been a positive, life-changing experience."

Learn more about Saint Leo's EdD in School Leadership.