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Finalists Named for 2021 Superintendent of the Year Award!

H.T. Sanchez

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Sanchez on being selected as one of the finalists for the 2021 Superintendent of the Year Award.

Sanchez has led Plainview ISD for three years, serving a student population of more than 5,000. An administrator for 19 years, Sanchez works with the board to move beyond compromise to consensus and outcomes that reflect their strength as a team. Believing communication is the key to unity, he makes sure every board member’s voice is heard. From the community to the board, he encourages input by making sure everyone finds an open door when they reach out to him. 

College readiness is systemic to Plainview ISD, and the district helps students see themselves as college material starting in the earliest grades. The district provides tutoring and curricula targeted at preparing students for higher education. 

Sanchez believes effective district leaders are teachers at heart. Through a partnership with an area university, he offers incentives to the district's teachers to pursue an administrative role with the district and add their perspective to the leadership team.

New scholarship opportunity for Ed. Leadership students!

Dr Turner

A&M-Commerce honored the professor and his wife, Mrs. Alene Turner for their lifetime of service and commitment to education. Attendees also celebrated the new Dr. Lynn and Mrs. Alene Turner Endowment for Educational Leadership. The endowment will provide scholarships to graduate students pursuing degrees in educational administration.

Read More.

Current (2020-2021) pass rates calculated by the Accountability System for Educator Preparation (ASEP).

ASEP Pass Rate 

Retired TAMUC Faculty Holt Honored with Emeritus Distinction

Following his retirement after 10 years of service at Texas A&M University-Commerce, Chuck Holt, Ed.D., earned a new title when the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents designated him as Associate Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership.

“I am honored to be named associate professor emeritus by The Texas A&M System Board of Regents,” Holt said. “I love our university and I’m proud that it serves so many first-generation college students.”

Holt joined the Department of Educational Leadership at A&M-Commerce in 2010 after a career served in Texas public schools as a teacher, principal and superintendent. During his time at the university, he helped train future school leaders by teaching courses including school law, school finance, leadership and more.

Widely published, Holt has presented at state, national and international conferences. He has consulted with public schools in Texas on school finance matters and as an interim superintendent.

College of Education and Human Services Dean Kimberly McLeod, Ph.D., said Holt has served as an instructor and mentor to many over the years.

“This emeritus distinction exemplifies the excellence and impact Chuck Holt’s services have had in the lives of our students and alumni,” McLeod said. “We gladly celebrate his life achievements and contributions to the university community.”

Holt and his wife, Donna, now live on their farm in Wood County, producing beef cattle and hay. The couple has endowed several scholarships at A&M-Commerce for future educators. He said he hopes to continue his contributions to the Department of Educational Leadership as an instructor and consultant moving forward.

Class Awards coming up!

Faculty Senate

Join us in congratulating the honorees via Zoom on Apr 27, 2021 05:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada).


Faculty awardees are Drs. Kemp-Graham and Jiang.

Our alumni award goes to Dr. Megan Gist.

Speaker: Lew Blackburn, former president of Dallas ISD.


Join Zoom Meeting-

Meeting ID: 993 6523 6375


Dr. Jericah Jackson

Please join us in congratulating our recent graduate, Dr. Jericah Jackson, on her selection to receive the Texas Council of Professors of Educational Administration (TCPEA) 2020 Dissertation of the Year Award.  The dissertation was selected by a committee through a competitive, blind process and was deemed to be worthy of the award.

Dr. Jackson and her chair, Dr. Julia Ballenger, will be honored during the January 25 TCPEA Virtual Meeting.

Launch of Young Women’s Leadership Academy - Dr. Jericah Jackson

Dr. Jericah Jackson

Aldine ISD is proud to announce the launch of the Aldine Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA), targeted to launch in the Fall of 2021. The campus will open with girls in grades 6-7. The YWLA is opening in partnership with the nonprofit organization, Young Women’s Preparatory Network, whose mission is to support single-gender, college-preparatory public education, giving young women the academic and leadership skills to achieve success in college and in life. Our district’s newest campus will join sister schools in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Houston, Lubbock, Midland, San Antonio, and Ysleta independent school districts, among others. 

Leading this important initiative is Dr. Jericah Jackson, who brings to the role more than a decade of work teaching and leading in schools. After beginning her career leading math and science classrooms at the middle school level, Dr. Jackson most recently has served as the assistant principal at Aldine Middle School and the assistant principal of curriculum and instruction at the Shotwell Academy. She holds a doctorate in education from Texas A&M University-Commerce, a master’s degree in education from Sam Houston State University, and a bachelor of science degree from Baylor University. 

Aldine ISD’s five-year strategic plan, A New Way Forward, was developed to ensure each student in the district has access to high-quality schools and learning experiences that prepare them for the future.

The YWLA will focus on college preparatory academics for girls in Grades 6-12, with an emphasis on college preparedness, leadership development, and STEM. The site location will be announced in January of 2021 along with details related to student enrollment and staff hiring. 

Dr. Harry Wade Senior Faculty Award


Julia Warren Ballenger, Ph.D., Professor, has been an educator for more than forty years in both public and private schools and a state organization in Texas. Throughout her career, she served as a teacher, principal, counselor, consultant, central office administrator, and at the Texas Education Agency as Regional and Program Director. Dr. Ballenger teaches in both the Doctoral and Master’s Program in the Department of Educational Leadership in the College of Education and Human Services. She teaches Qualitative Research Methodology, Research Design, Administration of Instructional Practices, Doctoral Professional Writing, and Dissertation Writing. Dr. Ballenger has served as a past president and secretary of the Texas Council of Professors of Educational Administration (TCPEA) Executive Board. She has attended TCPEA meetings and the Graduate Research Exchange for 17 years. Also, she served as a former member and secretary of the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration International Council of Professors of Educational Leadership (NCPEA/ICPEL) Executive Board. Dr. Ballenger has attended at the ICPEL/NCPEA conference for over 15 years. She was awarded the ICPEL Living Legend Award 2021. Dr. Ballenger’s research agenda consists of leadership for social justice, democracy, and school improvement, intercultural competency, the efficacy of principal preparation programs, and mentoring female administrators in higher education. Some of Dr. Ballenger awards include University Regents Professor Nominee (TAMUC), Eminent Faculty Scholar, (TABPHE), Phi Delta Kappa Distinguished Educator (International), and Phi Delta Kappa Key Service award.

Dr.  Ballenger serves in a variety of editorial roles at the International, National, State  levels. She currently serves co-editor of the Research on Women and Education Book Series, Information Age Publishers. Also, Dr. Ballenger is one of the associate editors for the Advancing Women in Leadership Journal (AWL). Also, she serves as a peer reviewer and assistant editor for several professional journals and conferences. Three of the journals are the International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, the International Journal of Organizational Innovation, and TCPEA’s School Leadership Review. Two of the conferences are the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the University Council of Professors of Educational Administrators (UCEA). Also, Dr. Ballenger has served on the Executive Board of the Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education (TABPHE), she served as a former president of the local Commerce chapter of TABPHE. She has served as Co-Chair of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Research on Women in Education (RWE) (SIG) Executive Board, Program Chair, Treasurer, and Selma Greenberg dissertation Awards committee for several years, and served as AERA Program Chair of the Action Research SIG.

University, College, and Departmental/Program levels. Dr.  Ballenger serves as President   of the Faculty Senate. Dr. Mark Rudin, President of A&M University-Commerce, TX, named Dr. Ballenger as one of the A&M University-Commerce Civility Ambassadors. Dr. Ballenger has served as Chair of the Sam Rayburn Student University Director Search committee. She served as Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership Clinical Teacher Search committee, member of the Vice President for Student Engagement, and on the search committee for the current President. At the College of Education and Human Services (COEHS), Dr. Ballenger served as Chair COEHS Tenure and Promotion Committee. Also, she serves on the Fall Symposium Planning Committee. At the department and program levels, she serves on scholarship and curriculum committees—research and Scholarly Works. Dr. Ballenger has co- edited eight published books with one additional book in press (third editor) and another book in progress (first author). She has published over 55 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Dr. Ballenger’s recent book, where she served as the first editor, is entitled: Women of Color in STEM: Navigating the Workforce (2017). Two other recent publications, where she was the second editor, are Standards-Based Leadership: A Case Study Book for the Principalship (2015) and Standards- Based Leadership: A Case Study Book for the Superintendent (2016).

A&M-Commerce Department of Educational Leadership Gains Funding for Region 10 Partnership


Dr. Teresa Farler, assistant professor of educational leadership at Texas A&M University-Commerce, recently secured additional funding for the university’s partnership with Region 10 Educational Service Center.

Dr. Pam Winn, head of the Department of Educational Leadership at A&M-Commerce, reports corporate sponsorships for the 3-year agreement now total $45,000.

The partnership will develop 15 to 20 aspiring superintendents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. “As their positive experience with A&M-Commerce increases our presence in the area, our recruiting efforts will become more fruitful,” Winn said. “This is an amazing win for the College of Education and Human Services and for the university.”

Dr. Julia Ballenger, professor of educational leadership at Texas A&M University-Commerce to be Honored by ICPEL


The International Council of Professors of Educational Leadership (ICPEL) recently named Dr. Julia Ballenger, professor of educational leadership at Texas A&M University-Commerce, as recipient of the ICPEL 2021 Living Legend award.

Established in 1999, the award recognizes individuals who lead a life that inspires others and foster a model of genuine care, ethics and professionalism in service to education. Recipients also deliver exemplary service to the ICPEL organization, display dedication to research, teaching and service to the professions, and make significant contributions to the field of educational administration.

Ballenger expressed gratitude to A&M-Commerce associate professor, Dr. Nathan Templeton, who nominated her for the award.

“I am humbled to receive the prestigious Living Legend award,” Ballenger said. “It is an honor to be recognized by colleagues and friends across the United States, including Drs. Martha McCarthy, Fenwick English, Beverly Irby, Carol Mullen, Rosemary Papa, Sandy Harris and Betty Alford.”

Dr. Kimberly McLeod, dean of the College of Education and Human Services, said Ballenger is a distinguished scholar with numerous accolades and awards for her commitment to education.

“Dr. Ballenger exemplifies uncompromising intellect, dignity, grace and advocacy in teaching, research and service to the university and greater learning community,” McLeod said. “We are delighted that ICPEL recognizes her as a living legend and we celebrate her success and trailblazing spirit.”

The Living Legend award will be conferred during the 2021 ICPEL summer conference in Denver, Colorado, scheduled for August 4-5, 2021.

Dr. Nate Templeton named editor of Mentoring & Tutoring Journal

                                        Dr. Templeton
Dr. Nate Templeton has been selected to serve as the editor of the Mentoring & Tutoring journal published by Taylor & Francis in cooperation with the International Council of Professors of Educational Leadership (ICPEL). The M&T journal is owned by Taylor & Francis publishing group based in the UK. In 2010 ICPEL--in a contractual agreement with Taylor & Francis-- took over the management and editorial responsibilities of this journal. Dr. Templeton was recently selected to replace Dr. Beverly Irby of Texas A&M University as editor and steps in to fill the editorial role of a recognized international journal that publishes and disseminates the scholarship associated with the leadership field.
Established in 1947, the ICPEL is the oldest organization in the United States representing professors of educational leadership. The organization is committed to serving the interests and needs of professors of educational leadership and practicing school leaders.
We appreciate the Texas A&M Commerce's support and commitment to Dr. Templeton and to the International Council of Professors of Educational Leadership. And, again, we are pleased to acknowledge Dr. Templeton's acceptance of the editorial duties on behalf of ICPEL. 

Dr. Holly Ferguson has been named the lone finalist for Prosper ISD Superintendent Job

Prosper ISD Associate Superintendent Dr. Holly Ferguson has been named the district’s lone finalist for the job of superintendent. The announcement was made July 10 by the school board. Following the legally required 21-day waiting period, Ferguson will replace Superintendent Dr. Drew Watkins, who announced last month that he was stepping down after 18 years with the district. Ferguson began her career with Prosper ISD in 1998 as an elementary school teacher. She has since served as a campus principal, executive director of curriculum and instruction, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction and, for the past three years, associate superintendent.

“I never would have imagined the day I decided to become a teacher that one day I would be the Prosper ISD Superintendent,” Ferguson said in a press release distributed by the district.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s in educational administration from the University of North Texas, Ferguson completed her Doctorate in Educational leadership at Texas A&M Commerce.
She has also previously worked for Frisco ISD as a teacher, ESL cluster teacher, reading interventionist and assistant principal.Ferguson and her husband, Frisco Fire Department Captain David Ferguson, are the parents of two children: Cade, a 2020 Prosper High School graduate, and Ty, who this fall will be a freshman at the school.

“I have been blessed beyond measure by the one and only Dr. Watkins because he took a chance on me as a young principal and believed in me when I didn’t really deserve it,” Holly Ferguson said. “I have grown up in this district, and over the years I have learned more about life than I could have ever imagined.”

Principal As Instructional Leader (268) Exam 268 Test Prep Session


 Per TEA “Starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Pearson is suspending Texas Educator Certification Examination Program exam delivery at their U.S.- and Canada-based Pearson-owned computer-administered test centers for 30 days until April 16, 2020. This decision was made for the health and safety of examinees and proctors. Pearson is sending cancellation notices and instructions for scheduling new appointments directly to examinees. Exam delivery at test centers on college/university campuses and other non-Pearson-owned partner locations are subject to the decisions local to that campus/facility. Please visit the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program web site at for more information”.


TEA continues to work with ETS regarding deadline extensions for PASL submission.  They are hoping to have more definitive information to us by next week. 

Per TEA “Registration for the Spring submission window closes on 3/27, with a submission deadline of 3/31. We are working closely with ETS on a plan to support students and programs during this challenging time and expect more information early next week”

Congratulations Dr. Nate Templeton and Dr. Josh Tremont for receiving the Texas Council of Professors of Educational Administration (TCPEA) Dissertation of the Year.



Texas A&M University--Commerce  

PO Box 3011, Commerce, TX 75429

#69 (tie) in Best Online Master's in Education Programs |Overall Score 78/100


Texas A&M University--Commerce is ranked No. 69 in Best Online Master's in Education Programs. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence. 

#69 (tie) in Best Online Master's in Education Programs

A&M-Commerce Grad Named Top Urban Teacher in the Nation

Urban Teacher

Happy Holidays!!

The Educational Leadership department was honored to join together this year with the Commerce ISD Family & Community Engagement (FACE) organization to provide a Christmas tree filled with ornaments and gift cards to a lucky Commerce ISD family.  Alison Walker picked up the tree on Tuesday (December 10th) to deliver to a lucky Commerce family.
A special thanks to Commerce ISD for allowing us this holiday opportunity to give back to our community.
christmas tree


Friends Gala


Dr. Chuck Holt, Donna Holt, Melinda Reid, Dr. Mark Reid


Dr. Chuck Holt, Abbie Harper, Dr. Mark Reid

5th safest college campus in Texas!


Source: ADT

Click here to get more info about Texas Education Agency


Click here to get more info about Performance Assessment for school Leaders (PASL)


2020 Alumni Ambassador

2020 Alumni Ambassador

Joe Dan Lee is a retired educator that dedicated his life to serving students in Texas public schools. Joe Dan started his career as a Vocational Agriculture teacher in Redwater ISD. After five years of teaching, Joe Dan moved into administration as a campus principal. At the age of 29, he became Superintendent of Schools in Redwater, Longview Pine Tree, and Georgetown ISD’s.

After retiring from Georgetown ISD, Joe Dan continues to serve Texas public school working for the Texas Association of School Boards. 

 Joe Dan earned his Bachelor of Science degree from East Texas State University, now Texas A&M Commerce, in 1975. He completed his degree in three years while living and working at the University farm. He became a graduate assistant at East Texas State and completed his Masters of Science degree in 1976. Joe Dan also completed mid- management and superintendent certification at East Texas State.

 Joe Dan has been married to his high school sweetheart, Tracey for the past 44 years. They have two grown daughters, Julie and Jenny and four wonderful grandchildren.  

2019 Alumni Ambassador2019 Ambassador
Dr. Gene Burton 
Click here for more info
2018 Alumni Ambassador2018 Alumni Ambassador
Dr. Scott Niven
Click here for more info
2017 Alumni Ambassador2017 Alumni Ambassador
Dr. David Wayne Fitts
Click here for more info
2016 Alumni Ambassador2016 Alumni Ambassador
Dr. Marcus Nelson
Click here for more info


September 2016

Welcome to our ranking of the best online doctoral programs in educational leadership.

Of all the doctoral programs in education available online, education leadership and administration is one of the most popular choices. Earning a doctoral degree in this field opens the door to careers in academia as well as top management positions on college campuses, in K-12 schools, or even with organizations like the Department of Education.

Our initial list of all eligible online doctoral programs in educational leadership came from College Navigator, a searchable database that allowed us to specify a set list of criteria. We accepted as candidates only those schools with online Ph.D. or Ed.D. programs in educational leadership or administration; that are classified as public or private non-profit institutions; and are offered through full four-year colleges. We also limited our search to schools with a maximum acceptance rate of 70% in order to zone in on the more selective programs. To score the remaining programs, we devised a system in which each college or university could obtain points for their performance in specific areas, including:

Size of the program. We used College Navigator to look at the number of doctoral degrees in educational leadership that were awarded for the 2014-15 school year. We correlated higher numbers in this category with program popularity and student retention. It is difficult to know how many students in a particular degree program graduated compared to how many enrolled in any given year, but it is safe to say that colleges that confer high numbers of degrees in a specific field have either taken steps to make that program very appealing to students; worked hard to make sure the students that do enroll, stay enrolled; or both.

ELCC National Recognition. The primary accrediting body for educator training programs at the collegiate level is the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Within this agency, there are several “Specialized Professional Associations” (SPAs) that are linked to specific subfields of education. For example, the ELCC concentrates solely on education leadership. Like most SPAs, the ELCC regularly evaluates graduate programs within this discipline and produces a list of “nationally recognized” schools that maintain a quality and consistency of teaching that deserve a status beyond simply being NCATE-accredited. This category was our main source of information in calculating our top Ed.D educational leadership online ranking. We gave schools points for having recognized doctoral programs as well as master’s programs. In the latter case, we operated upon the belief that if a university earns this prestigious recognition for a lower-level graduate degree, we can take this as an indication of its commitment to providing a top-tier education at all other levels of study as well.

Tuition. As with most of our top rankings, we consider cost to be an important factor – particularly for online degrees that attract working/adult/nontraditional students. For consistency, we acquired all tuition-related information from College Navigator, averaging in-state and out-of-state expenses in the case of public schools.

We awarded points to each school based on their performances in each category and then summed these to produce a final score, which we scaled according to a 100-point maximum score. We have included these scores below along with descriptions of each school and their approximate annual tuition rates.



Texas A&M University-Commerce

Commerce, TX

Online Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Texas A & M University at Commerce offers not only the most affordable online Ed.D. program in higher education in the state, but also arguably the best. As a result, this program is predictably selective—TAMUC only admits two online doctoral cohorts to its online education program every year. But TAMUC’s program is also somewhat self-selecting, distinguishing itself from others on this list due to its explicit focus on educational administration. So while it may be more attractive to those with their hearts set on becoming a principal or superintendent, pure academics need not apply.
Tuition & Fees: $9,010/yr
Score: 90

For more details on number of ranking colleges Please CLICK THIS LINK.



Top Ranked Educational Leadership Degree Program

Top Ranked Educational Leadership Degree Program

Texas A & M University-Commerce has been ranked the #11 Educational Administration degree program in the U.S. of 563 qualifying colleges. You can view the Top 20 here