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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: Our program is now accepting applications in 2015 for the 2016-2017 cohort. For additional information, please contact the Office of Admissions at 212.678.3710. Thank you!

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

  • Mariela Graham

    Mariela grahamMariela Graham is both a practitioner and student of Education Leadership.  After graduating from Duke University, she joined the NYC Teaching Fellows and became a middle school social studies and mathematics teacher in Washington Heights.  Since 2007, she has served as the founding principal of the Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice, an all-girls’, grades 6-12 public school in Brooklyn. Read more...


  • Interview with Professor Ellie

Alumni Spotlight

  • Jessica Blum-DeStefano

    Jessica blum-destefanoJessica Blum-DeStefano earned her PhD in Education Leadership in May 2014 from Teachers College, Columbia University.  Her doctoral studies were inspired by her rewarding work as a teacher and school administrator in alternative education settings—and by the remarkable students who fueled her enthusiasm, excitement, and commitment during the nearly ten years she spent in schools.  Jessica’s doctoral dissertation extended and built upon her experiences as a practitioner, and explored how 19 students in two alternative high schools described, understood, and experienced good teachers. Read more.