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Ph.D in Education Leadership Program
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Ph.D in Education Leadership Program

In the Department of Organization & Leadership


Our Mission

To develop aspiring professors in education 
leadership who will prepare aspiring school leaders, support current school leaders, and advance scholarship in the field.

Dawn of a Generation of Leaders

While preparing managers was an important goal of the 20th century, the PhD program in Education Leadership at Teachers College is aimed at preparing those who are passionate about teaching practicing and aspiring leaders in the 21st century to be architects of adult learning in their schools as they lead, manage, support, and build capacity at the individual, team, and organizational level.

Building Education Leadership Professors

Our PhD program seeks to train aspiring academics to be well prepared to conduct systematic qualitative and quantitative research in service to developing students for the professorate in Education Leadership and in Education Leadership Preparation. We seek to equip professors with understanding of how to build leaders’ capacities so that they can, in turn, support the growth and development of adults and students in their care.
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  • Welcome

    Eleanor drago-seversonWe wish a warm welcome to all of our future and current students and alumni who are visiting this website.  Our Ph.D. Program in Education Leadership has a distinguished faculty whose mission is to prepare committed graduate students to serve as University professors of Education Leadership. The Ph.D. Program in Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University is a full time doctoral program. We hope you find this site helpful.
    Dr. Ellie Drago-Severson
Professor of Education
    Director of PhD Program in Education Leadership

    "There is great power in hope. With great hope, may our leadership work together raise our consciousness, amplify our abilities to support growth in students and adults in our care, and encourage and strengthen us to step forward courageously in leading for adult development. May it also help us to be more compassionate by deepening our understanding of how to support adult growth. May it enable us to listen differently and to lead by listening..." - Adapted from Leading Adult Learning (Drago-Severson, 2009)
    Note:  Applications for the Ph.D. Program are accepted every other year.  We will be accepting our next round of applications beginning in September 2014 for the entering cohort of fall 2015.  Applications must be complete with all documents received in the Office of Admission by the Program deadline of December 15, 2014 in order to be considered for fall 2015 admission. If you have questions about the admissions process, please contact the Office of Admission at Teachers College.

Recent Announcements

Professor Ellie Drago-Severson just published Reach the Highest Standard in Profession Learning in association with Learning Designs. This groundbreaking 7-book series, co-developed by Learning Forward and Corwin, closes the "knowing-doing" gap by guiding educational leaders through the process for implementing the Learning Forward Standards for Professional Learning. Learn more.

Professor Ellie Drago-Severson will be guiding a discussion after a viewing of the film A Race to Nowhere at 2:00 p.m. on October 20 in Russell 303. Learn more about the film or the event at TC.

Education Leadership Journal Club is a professional group of students and faculty in the PhD Education Leadership program who meet every two weeks to discuss and critique cutting edge research. Learn more about the theory and research behind this practice.

 Open House: Conversations with Education Leadership Students and Faculty

Join us on Friday, November 14 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. for our first Education Leadership Open House where prospective and current students and faculty will share their experiences with prospective students.

If you cannot make the November 14 date, you are welcome to attend our second open house on Wednesday, December 3 from 6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.

Professor Alex Bowers just recently published Using Data in Schools to Inform Leadership and Decision Making with co-editors Dr. Alan Shoho and Dr. Bruce Barnett. This is the fifth book in the International Research on School Leadership series! Learn more!

Meet Current Students

  • Justin Barbaro

    Justin barbaroJustin Barbaro is a fourth-year PhD student in Education Leadership and a Graduate Research Assistant at the Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership at Teachers College. His research foci include international school leadership and management, role transition theory, and school choice. His dissertation will investigate how international school heads experience the surprise, orientation, and socialization phases when transitioning to new schools. Read more...


  • Capturing the First-year Doctoral Experience

Alumni Spotlight

  • Tom Haferd

    Tom haferdWith training and experience in operational systems and organizational dynamics, Tom Haferd turned his attention to teaching and learning more than 25 years ago to apply his skills toward developing more effective education programs. More recently he has focused his attention on school improvement, leadership development, implementation science and systems level change by providing technical assistance and consulting for urban public school districts, institutes of higher education, and state departments of education. In his research, he employs quantitative methodologies to study the organizational psychology of teachers and principals toward understanding the development of trust among school professionals. Read more