Educational Leadership orientation

“Research shows that the leadership skills needed today are different from in the past, and preparation programs must adapt in order to better train people for leadership positions.” (Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today: Preparing Effective School Leaders in New York State, a publication of the New York State Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department).

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program at the Esteves School of Education is designed to develop visionary educational leaders who are reflective and ethical practitioners and who will create learning communities where all children experience a sense of belonging, discover the excitement of learning, and demonstrate achievement individually and collaboratively. This program prepares graduates for roles as school district leaders and for leadership positions in educational coordination and policy making at local, regional, and statewide levels.

Conceptual Framework

The mission of the Esteves School of Education is to prepare highly effective educators, school counselors, and school leaders who believe in full inclusion, who value diversity, who are reflective, and who are knowledgeable about best practices. Therefore, we ask Sage educators, counselors, and leaders to consider two essential questions throughout their studies and field experiences: Who am I in the lives of those with whom I work? Who am I in the life of my educational community?  We expect all Sage candidates to demonstrate leadership and create optimal educational outcomes for all learners.

The motto of Russell Sage College, “To Be, To Know, To Do,” informs the educational purpose of The Sage Colleges, where the common effort is to translate learning into action and application, within a framework that recognizes the obligation of educated persons to lead and serve their communities.  In the Esteves School of Education, this motto is extended to form the basis for our programs.

Conceptual Framework: the underlying structure in a professional education unit that gives conceptual meanings through an articulated rationale to the unit’s operation, and provides direction for programs, courses, teaching, candidate performance, faculty scholarship and service, and unit accountability.

T-BIRDS – the key concepts of the conceptual framework:

  • Technology: a vehicle for learners to acquire information, practice skills, use higher order thinking skills, and participate in collaborative projects.
  • Best Practices: the pedagogical knowledge, skills, and practices that have been shown through research and evaluation to be effective and/or efficient and that candidates use to teach all learners.
  • Inclusion and Diversity: the ability to collaborate and team with other professionals in developing and implementing strategies to accommodate diverse learners; the ability to develop solutions that will enhance the learning experiences of all children; and, the ability of candidates to be aware of and sensitive to diversity issues and to use culturally and socially responsible pedagogy.
  • Reflection: the ability to reflect and assess one’s own effectiveness, and to systematically make adjustments to improve and strengthen areas needing attention.
  • Dispositions: the demonstration of respect for learner differences, commitment to own personal growth, and engagement in short and long-term planning.
  • Service Learning: the strategies that integrate meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich children’s learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

These elements are interrelated and integrated to prepare teacher candidates to assume roles as reflective facilitators of learning, combining knowledge and skills to exemplify those qualities and dispositions that characterize effective teachers.

The program of study for the doctorate in educational leadership will:

  • Provide advanced study in leadership and change theory for candidates entering significant leadership roles in school districts or other areas of broad educational influence;
  • Lead to the creation of exceptional, inclusive learning communities in the schools and districts served by our graduates;
  • Generate a forum for women and men of differing races and ethnicities to convene and challenge themselves as they investigate the effects of race, poverty, gender, and special needs on the achievement of children;
  • Develop knowledgeable, engaged leaders who, as scholar practitioners, are skillful in the act of inquiry;
  • Produce reflective and active educational leaders who respect the past but are not constrained by it in their thought or action on behalf of learners;
  • Become a model of school-university cooperation in leadership development;
  • Ignite and disseminate research-based decision-making and problem-solving for school districts in need.

Each candidate will intern throughout the first four semesters, experiencing the annual cycle of school district leadership functions. The internship competency areas relate specifically to the coursework of the semester. Candidates will serve the internship in two carefully selected school districts of varying socioeconomic status, one of which may be the district in which the candidate is currently working.

Area school districts, BOCES and other educational organizations provide research sites and work with program faculty to identify significant problems of practice for each cohort’s dissertation, insuring that Ed.D. candidates’ work is grounded in the real world. These partnerships provide relevancy for the research, build capacity for the school districts, and generate model university school district relationships.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate competence individually and to work collaboratively, as a member of a research team to apply the research findings in the field, to understand the complex nature of the issues and problems that schools face, and to draw upon the richness and breadth of the university curriculum. The resulting research will not only address significant and real problems, concerns or questions, but will contribute to the knowledge base in the area of leadership practice.

EDL In the News

Dr. Cheryl Nuciforo

Dr. Cheryl Nuciforo, Superintendent of Chatham Schools and a May 2016 graduate of the Educational Leadership program, was featured in the August 2016 issue of School Administrator, the national publication of The School Superintendents Association (AASA).

EDL Overview

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the Ed.D. will complete 102 credits of graduate study, 42 of which must be completed in the Sage doctoral program. Those credits include core coursework, an experiential component integrated throughout the program, and a culminating research activities. The program is designed to be small; a maximum of 15 part-time candidates will be accepted. They will proceed through the program as a cohort that begins, after initial start up, every other year. The seven semester program design includes summer residencies, weekend format courses, online components, and interaction with state and national experts.

The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership is housed on Sage’s Albany campus, with state of the art classrooms and small and large group meeting spaces. Additionally, extensive online resources including Moodle, databases, and journals support the online coursework of the candidates.

LiveText e-Portfolio System

The School of Education requires all students to subscribe to Live Text, an electronic portfolio system.

Program Summary

  • EDL 715 – Educational Leadership: An Endeavor of Human Interaction : 4 Credits
  • EDL 735 – School District Leader Internship I : 2 Credits
  • EDL 720 – Leadership of Learning Communities : 4 Credits
  • EDL 736 – School District Leader Internship II : 1 Credit
  • EDL 745 – Introduction to Research Methods : 1 Credit
  • EDL 725 – Accountability and Leadership for School Districts : 4 Credits
  • EDL 737 – School District Leadership Internship III : 3 Credits
  • EDL 730 – Law, Policy, Values: Decisions, Planning and Change : 2 Credits
  • EDL 741 – Foundations of Inquiry I : 1 Credit
  • EDL 746 – Research Methods I : 1 Credit
  • EDL 731 – Law, Policy, Values: The System Leader’s Role : 2 Credits
  • EDL 742 – Foundations of Inquiry II : 2 Credits
  • EDL 747 – Research Methods II : 2 Credits
  • EDL 743 – Foundations of Inquiry III : 1 Credit
  • EDL 755 – Doctoral Research I: Problems of Practice : 4 Credits
  • EDL 752 – Diversity and System Leadership : 1 Credit
  • EDL 756 – Doctoral Research II: Problems of Practice : 4 Credits
  • EDL 744 – Foundations of Inquiry IV : 1 Credit
  • EDL 748 – Research Colloquium : 1 Credit
  • EDL 750 – The System Leader : 1 Credit

For those students who need extended time to finish doctoral research:

  • EDL 770 – Doctoral Research Continuation : 2 Credits

Total Program Credits: 42

Course descriptions are available in the Sage Graduate Schools catalog.

Admission Requirements

The program is limited to qualified candidates who have completed a master’s degree or degrees, with no fewer than 60 graduate credits of study in education or related areas, and a GPA of no less than 3.5 in graduate coursework. Potential candidates will also present teaching or leadership certification and demonstrate potential for educational leadership based on prior work experience.

Other requirements include an application to Sage Graduate School, three letters of professional reference that address the candidate’s potential in relationship to the NYSED nine essential characteristics of effective leaders, an on-demand writing sample to determine readiness and capability for scholarly writing, a current resume and a statement of career goals supporting the choice to enter doctoral study at this time, and participation in a personal admissions interview. See the Sage Graduate Schools admission requirements for more information.

Candidates for the program will be teachers, counselors, principals, and other mid-level professionals who have exhibited leadership potential through their work in schools, school systems, or other educational policy positions. The program is intended for practitioners and is designed to allow for continued employment throughout the period in which they will complete the program. Careful work with school and community leaders is intended to assist in increasing the numbers of highly qualified candidates from under-represented populations who enroll the doctoral program.

Also required:

  • An application to Esteves School of Education at The Sage Colleges.
  • Apply online at
  • Official graduate level transcripts
  • Statement of career goals supporting the choice to enter doctoral study at this time
  • Three letters of professional reference that address the candidate’s potential in relationship to the NYSED nine essential characteristics of effective school leaders
  • Participation in a personal admission interview and an on-demand writing sample to determine readiness and capability for scholarly writing
  • Completed immunization form
  • Current resume

All application materials should be uploaded at or sent to:

The Sage Colleges
140 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, New York 12208
Attn: Office of Graduate Admission

National Accreditation Advantage

The Esteves School of Education first received accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in October 2001. NCATE accreditation means that graduates are recognized as having completed an Education program that meets the highest standards in the field. Sage graduates should note the NCATE accreditation on their resumes and be prepared to talk about its significance.

Sage is one of only 45 colleges and universities in New York State to receive prestigious NCATE accreditation. Across the nation, relatively few private colleges can claim this level of excellence in teach education programs. The NCATE accreditation process helped articulate what qualities a Sage educator, counselor, or leader possesses: belief in full inclusion, valuing diversity, reflection, and knowledge about best practices. NCATE accreditation is a mark of assurance that teachers, counselors, and leaders educated at Sage are competent, caring, and highly qualified. NCATE accreditation means that Sage graduates are better prepared to help their students reach high standards. Graduates of NCATE accredited programs can more easily receive certification and teaching jobs in other states; NCATE is recognized throughout the nation.