This article describes how East Carolina University’s Doctor of Education (EdD) program has undergone a dramatic redesign over the past decade to better prepare PK-12 administrators for the challenges of 21st century school district leadership, with an emphasis on superintendency. Explored are the impetus for the redesign, resulting in renewed emphasis on service, the development of signature pedagogies that better engage students, and evidence of the success of subsequent program graduates. Included are the specific steps – and missteps – taken by faculty to advance program redesign, the balance achieved between theory and practice, and accompanying reflections. Students are now engaged and challenged from candidate selection in the admissions process to post-graduation opportunities for dissemination of scholarly practitioner research. This insight into and reflection upon the program’s challenges, growth, and subsequent outcomes is intended to help colleagues at other institutions considering an EdD redesign to prepare effective, high-quality public school superintendents and district administrators.


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