Why Ed.D?

School and district leaders have complex jobs. An Ed.D. at PLU offers the following:

  • Cohesive and targeted professional development to advance your knowledge and skill.
  • Relevant coursework taught by local leaders to meet the needs of your schools and districts.
  • Career advancement
  • Financial advancement via steps on the salary schedule for the degree and/or stipends for the Superintendent certificate

Additionally, many districts offer building and district administrators professional development funds which can typically be used toward tuition for an Ed.D.

Career Prospects

The demand for school leaders and superintendents continues to soar. This is partly due to the shrinking retention rates of superintendents. There is significant turn over in the ranks of school leaders.

Before the pandemic, addressing school leader turnover across the state and country was a top priority for organizations including the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) and Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP). Turnover or churn in the school leader ranks was an epidemic before the pandemic. Churn in school leadership has a negative impact on students, teachers, schools, and communities. Again, this churn was alarming and concerning before the Covid 19 pandemic. Even more alarming is that our schools and districts with the greatest needs–high poverty, urban and rural districts– are churning school leaders at twice the rate.

Turnover is a significant equity issue in the educational system. The negative consequences of leadership churn on our most disadvantaged students, schools, and communities is an identified problem area by school associations in Washington State (AWSP, 2022).

Several contributing factors leading to so much turnover across the educational system are abundantly clear. These findings are confirmed by national research recently conducted by the Learning Policy Institute (2018).

Why are school leaders leaving the profession? One reason cited was inadequate preparation and professional development. In addition, IPEDS data for Education Doctorates across the Pacific Northwest shows consistent demand for the Ed.D including Educational Administration and Leadership specifically.

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