Online Doctor of Education in

Educational Leadership

A class, school, or district is only as good as its leaders. Elevating experienced educators for school leadership roles across the state is at the heart of ACU’s online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership program. Leading teachers and administrators toward their greater purpose within their careers, this degree is ideal for those looking to continue their education with the hopes of creating lasting change within their schools and districts.

A class, school, or district is only as good as its leaders. Elevating experienced educators for school leadership roles across the state is at the heart of ACU’s online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership program. Leading teachers and administrators toward their greater purpose within their careers, this degree is ideal for those looking to continue their education with the hopes of creating lasting change within their schools and districts.

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Discover The Skills to Empower Your Leadership And Transform Professional Practice

In our online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program, you’ll gain expertise in constructing crucial communication networks and fostering collaborative alliances to enhance your school’s strategies and enrich its culture. This flexible program allows you to pursue your doctorate while maintaining your current position. Joining a dynamic cohort of professionals from diverse school districts statewide, you’ll be part of our mission to elevate educational standards through a focus on equity, ethics, and social justice while imparting cutting-edge methodologies for strategically fortifying the foundations of your school or district.

$3,000 Scholarship for Doctor of Education Students

New students will receive a $3,000 scholarship awarded during your first two years in the Ed.D. program. New students that begin classes in our Fall I session beginning August 20, 2024 will automatically receive the scholarship.

About the Program

educational leadership

ACU’s online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program offers educators the chance to join a community of like-minded professionals aspiring to advance into administrative roles. This degree equips you with the skills to lead your school or district effectively by deepening your understanding of leadership concepts, theories, and strategies, and by integrating new insights into administrative practices tailored for educational contexts. With its diverse array of courses, this program is the perfect choice for those seeking a valuable curriculum at a reputable, Christ-centered institution.

Program Structure

All the Details on Your Degree

Throughout the coursework, you will expand your understanding of how to showcase strategic leadership and innovative problem-solving approaches within K-12 institutions. In the core curriculum courses, you will learn classic and contemporary educational leadership theories while simultaneously weaving other important aspects of leading a K-12 institution including learning instruction and innovation, effective communication as an educational leader, and managing human capital. Diving into the other topics, including the cultural, political and social issues influencing educational leadership, you can expect to design, implement, maintain, and evaluate change initiatives that can be seamlessly integrated into your curriculum or school environment.

Advanced Standing Available

With a Principal or Superintendent Certification, you may be eligible to reduce the cost of your degree by qualifying for “Advanced Standing” to automatically gain up to 15 credit hours toward your Ed.D. – a savings of $12,500. Other financial aid may apply. Please speak with an admissions advisor to learn more.

Required Hours

60 hours total, reduced to 45 hours by granting 15 hours of Advanced Standing to students with a Principal or Superintendent Certification
3-year completion timeframe

Example Coursework

Effective Communication as an Education Leader
Learning Instruction and Innovation
Managing Data to Improve Student Learning
Policy and Politics in Education

Upcoming Start Dates

August 20, 2024
October 15, 2024

Common Job Titles

District Administrator
Assistant Principal
Deputy Superintendent


Embedded Dissertation

Our innovative program features an embedded dissertation model that seamlessly integrates coursework with dissertation milestones. Each course includes a “dissertation journey task,” ensuring you make tangible progress on your dissertation alongside coursework. Beginning your work with a chair early in your second semester, you’ll navigate milestones culminating in a comprehensive Concept Proposal as a prerequisite for LEAD 765. Our program is designed to connect every aspect of your curriculum with intentionality, providing a streamlined path to doctoral achievement. Unlock your potential and advance your career with a program tailored for success with a short three-year completion time.


Focused on making you a changemaker in your school district, this degree is ideal for those looking to advance their careers toward greater competence and professional development via our two distinct concentrations.

educational leadership

Principal Leadership

Designed to meet the needs of competent and intelligent school principals, the Principal Leadership concentration helps you learn how to manage data to improve student learning and learning challenges, understand the importance of reframing learning for specific student populations, know how to create effective learning environments, and apply research-based practices for future protocols and procedures. 



superintendentSchool Superintendent

Designed to help launch aspiring superintendents and administrative leaders, the School Superintendent concentration helps you better understand school finances and funding for educational facilities, be exposed to the current politics within the state’s educational sector, learn how to become a district instructional leader, and grow in your current comprehension of education theories and practices. 

Meet the Program Director

Dr. Darlene Breaux, Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Dr. Darlene Breaux earned her B.A. in psychology from Texas Southern University, an M.S. in educational leadership from the University of Houston–Clear Lake where she graduated with high honors, and completed her doctorate in organizational leadership from Abilene Christian University in 2020 where she also received a university certification in mediation. 

Her research centered on Teachers’ Perceptions Regarding Dyslexia Training for Addressing the Social-Emotional Needs of Children with Dyslexia. Dr. Breaux received the Dissertation of the Year award from the Texas Council of Professors of Educational Administration. She is known for her passion for educational policy and advocacy and has had the opportunity to influence the legislative agenda at the state and federal levels, earning her the honor of being named HAABSE, TABSE, and NABSE School Board Member of the Year. Texas School Business magazine named Breaux as a Thought Leader and Innovator in Education. Her published work “What Do You Do When Silence is No Longer Golden” was touted as an “Essential Read” by Psychology Today magazine. Dr. Breaux was recognized as one of Houston’s Top 30 Influential Women and received the 2024 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award from President Joseph R. Biden.

Dr. Breaux serves on the board of directors for the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), Gulf Coast Area Association of School Boards (GCAASB), Houston reVision, and is the board president for Alief Independent School District and has earned the distinction of Master Trustee.



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educational leadership

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate of school leaders is predicted to increase by 11.3% within the next few years. With thousands of open positions projected every year across Texas, the need for well-trained and educated school leaders is great with opportunities existing in various types of settings including public and private K-12 institutions, colleges, and universities. 

To be considered for admission, students must:

  • Complete the online program application accompanied by a non-refundable processing fee.
  • Submit official transcripts showing earned bachelor’s and master’s from a regionally accredited college or university or the equivalent.
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above, probationary status may be granted.
  • Submit a current resume.
  • Statement of interest in the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership describing potential research questions and professional career objectives.
  • 3 – 5 page writing sample that clearly communicates beliefs about educational leadership, philosophy of education, why they hold these beliefs, and how they translate those beliefs into practice.
  • Students who choose the superintendent concentration must already possess the superintendent or principal certification or the equivalent courses.

Graduation Requirements: Students must earn a 3.0 GPA or higher to meet graduation requirements, including successfully completing all required courses and dissertation hours.

SACSCOC Stamp Color

Abilene Christian University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Ga. 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of ACU.

Abilene Christian University enjoys a strong national reputation as one of the leading private Christian universities in the west and southwest, indicated by various ratings (such as U.S. News and World Report and other reports).