What is one thing Ed.L.D. students have
in common? They all applied to the program.

While our admissions process is highly selective, it is also personalized, holistic, and fair. There is no single formula or criterion for admission. Successful candidates for the Ed.L.D. Program come from a diverse range of backgrounds in the education, business, public administration, and policy sectors. They bring with them a variety of strengths and experiences. We encourage you to learn more about what makes a successful candidate and what steps you can take to join us.

Application requirements:
  • Online application form
    • Short essay question
  • Resume/curriculum vitae
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation (submitted through the online application system)
  • Standardized test score(s):
    • GRE or GMAT
    • TOEFL or IELTS (if applicable)
  • Transcript(s) from each postsecondary institution attended (uploaded with the online application)
  • $85 application fee (paid via credit card with the online application)

The Ed.L.D. online submission and materials received deadline is Friday, December 13, 2013.

Once all applications have been reviewed, we will invite selected Ed.L.D. applicants to campus for a day of required interviews (both individual and group) with members of the admissions committee. Interviews will take place February 27–28, 2014.

Decisions will be made available online by March 24, 2014.

To learn more about the application process, visit our FAQ page.

Take the next step toward transforming yourself and the education sector — apply to the Ed.L.D. Program today.

Profile of All Admitted Ed.L.D. Students
Female: 59 percent
Male: 41 percent

Geographical Distribution
27 states and Washington, D.C.

Work Experience
Average: 10 years
Range: 2 to 26 years

Students of Color
50 percent

GRE General Test*
Average: 162
Range: 151 to 170

Average: 154
Range: 143 to 167

Analytical Writing
Average: 4.5
Range: 3.5 to 6.0

* Based on two years with the new scoring scale

Learn from leaders in their fields.

You will be part of a leadership program designed by faculty from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Kennedy School. What better way to observe leadership in action than to be surrounded by leaders across the fields of education, business, and public policy? Read More

As an Ed.L.D. student, you will have the opportunity to:
  • Learn how to enhance the effectiveness of senior leadership teams and organizational learning in large urban school districts from Monica Higgins, an expert in organizational behavior.
  • Work with Lisa Lahey, who helps professionals across sectors comprehend and overcome their "immunities to change."
  • Study systemic reform in urban schools with Andrés Alonso, former CEO for Baltimore City Public Schools.
  • Gain insights from Michael Tushman of the Harvard Business School, an expert on innovation and organizational adaptation.
  • Learn from Marshall Ganz of the Harvard Kennedy School, a national leader in community and issue organizing and voter mobilization strategies for political campaigns.

The Faculty
Faculty who will teach in the common core curriculum in the first year and the core seminar in the second year include:
Our partners in reform.

The Ed.L.D. brings you outside of the classroom and into the world of practice. We have partnered with school systems, nonprofit organizations, mission-based for-profit organizations, and government agencies – institutions that possess the common goal of ensuring that every child in every classroom has the opportunity to achieve his or her full potential. You will work with partner organizations in the third-year residency, as well as in the first two years of the program. We expect to learn from and with the partner organizations as we share practice and knowledge and build a network of organizations that together will transform American preK–12 education.

Our growing list of partners includes:
Meet a new class of leaders.

As a member of the Ed.L.D. cohort, you will learn from other committed and talented students — leaders who have worked inside and outside of schools and school districts, improved educational opportunities for underserved students, and more. Together, our faculty and students form a community and culture characterized by excellence and personal support. The relationships you develop during your time in the Ed.L.D. Program form the foundation of a long-lasting network that stays with you long after graduation.

The practice-based Ed.L.D. Program prepares students for a variety of long-term, system-level leadership responsibilities within a diverse array of organizations across the field of education. Ed.L.D. graduates are currently making a difference in organizations nationwide including school districts, nonprofits, and state departments of education.

Student Profiles
Ed.L.D. students come from a diverse range of backgrounds and sectors. Whether they are seasoned classroom educators, public administration professionals, or entrepreneurs, they all share a demonstrated commitment to transforming the American preK–12 education sector. Here are a few of their stories.

Christine DeLeon
State: California
Recent Position: Director and Founder of Analyst Fellowship
Employer: Education Pioneers
Degree: B.B.A., University of Michigan
  Read More
Christine DeLeon launched her career in the private sector and moved into education reform through positions in both philanthropy and human capital. At Education Pioneers, Christine launched the Analyst Fellowship, a program that recruits, trains, and places young, private-sector professionals with various K–12 organizations seeking analytic capacity. Prior to working at Education Pioneers, she provided strategic counsel to school districts, charter management organizations, and education nonprofits as assistant director at the Broad Foundation. Christine was also a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group and worked with urban youth in both the U.S. and abroad.

What drives you to do the work that you do?
What drives me is seeing young, smart, passionate individuals who have no shortage of great opportunities ahead of them choose to work in education, and choose to remain in education. They leave the comfort of their private sector jobs and move across the country to spend time working in organizations that strive to improve students' lives. As the year goes on, I watch them become knowledgeable, experienced, and passionate education reformers hungry for more knowledge and more driven to change the sector. I'm confident that with leaders like them, paired with intelligent and passionate life-long educators, opportunities for our kids will look dramatically different.

Why does the Ed.L.D. Program make sense for you at this time?
It made sense for me to join the Ed.L.D. Program at this time, as I have gained experience both in the private sector and in the education sector. Through these experiences, I've gained strong strategic and operational knowledge, as well as a high-level view of the K–12 education sector. However, it is critical for me to learn from colleagues who have worked directly with kids in the classroom and at the school level. They bring a level of knowledge and insight that is essential for me to become the strongest education leader possible.

Read More

Chip Linehan
State: California
Recent Position: Special Partner
Employer: New Enterprise Associates
Degree: A.B., Harvard University
  Read More
Chip Linehan has spent the past two decades building innovative, entrepreneurial organizations in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. As a partner at New Enterprise Associates, Chip's investments in healthcare and information technology start-up companies now account for several billion dollars in revenues and have created thousands of jobs. The youngest person to be named a partner in the firm's 35-year history, Chip rose to co-head of the firm's global healthcare investing practice. In 1997, Chip cofounded an educational nonprofit, The SMART Program, which provides socioeconomically disadvantaged children in San Francisco with life-changing educational opportunities. He looks forward to more broadly applying his entrepreneurial skills to the education sector "in the hopes of helping to close the achievement gap and offering all children access to an education that can take them wherever they want to go in life."

What drives you to do the work that you do?
My parents sacrificed to ensure that my brothers and I would get the best education available, and that sacrifice has made all of the difference in my life. All of my accomplishments rest upon the foundation of my education. Witnessing firsthand the life-changing impact that a great education can have on others through my work with SMART has further reinforced the importance of this work.

Why does the Ed.L.D. Program make sense for you at this time?
After 19 years as a venture capitalist, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to pursue a second career where I can apply some of the skills I have developed along the way to a sector I am deeply passionate about – education. This program allows me to make that transition.

Read More

Laura Kanter
State: New York
Recent Position: Director of Instructional Development
Employer: Success Charter Network
Degree: B.A., Yale University
  Read More
Laura Kanter joined Harlem (N.Y.) Success Academy Charter School as a founding team member in 2006. Over five years, she helped the organization grow from one elementary charter school with 150 students to nine schools with 450 instructional staff serving 3,500 students. As director of instructional development, Laura managed all schools' professional development, special education, curriculum and school design, and family involvement. Prior to her work at Success Charter Network, Laura taught at an international school in Shanghai, China, and was inspired there by the widespread belief in the power of education as a vehicle to a better future.

What drives you to do the work that you do?
I wake up every day (early!) committed to serving the scholars in our school buildings and beyond. Every aspect of my work connects back to changing lives in a tangible way.

Why does the Ed.L.D. Program make sense for you at this time?
After devoting over five years to the frontlines of an education reform organization, I want to take a step back to crystallize my vision for outstanding schools. The program is an incredible opportunity to formally study and develop my management and instructional skills to become an effective system-level leader.

Read More

Justin May
State: Vermont
Recent Position: Second Grade Teacher
Employer: Lincoln Community School
  • A.B., Dartmouth College
  • M.S.E.d. Bank Street College of Education
  Read More
A recipient of Teach For America's national award for excellence in teaching, Justin May has devoted himself to improving outcomes for students who learn best through nontraditional methods and settings. As a second-grade teacher, Justin led his public school in rural Vermont to be the first in the state to implement Positive Behavior Supports, a tiered intervention system. He also created an award-winning gardening program recognized for its strong curricular connections. Previously, Justin served as executive director of Teach For America's New Mexico region, where he enhanced organizational capacity and expanded impact. Justin aspires to lead a transformation in how American schools educate and support those who learn differently.

What drives you to do the work that you do?
I am driven by a strong faith in the unlimited power of human potential. I see education as the only pathway to truly understanding the self, others, and the myriad relationships woven around us. I am deeply committed to creating equitable life prospects for all children.

Why does the Ed.L.D. Program make sense for you at this time?
As a second grade teacher in rural Vermont, I held a unique vantage point on how the recession and the current state budget crisis impact organizational capacity and special education reform in small public schools. I bring a proven ability to listen, build relationships, and invest all stakeholders in meaningful action. The Ed.L.D. Program will help me gain the professional knowledge and practice needed to take bold, entrepreneurial steps in reforming special education funding and policy at scale.

Read More

Gislaine Ngounou
State: Missouri
Recent Position: Instructional Coach and Math Teacher
Employer: Southwest Early College Campus
  • B.S., Ed.Spec., History, University of Missouri, Kansas City
  • M.A.T., University of Central Missouri
  Read More
As a teacher, professional development chair, and instructional coach in the Kansas City (Mo.) School District, Gislaine Ngounou incorporated youth development principles and varied curricula to generate deep levels of understanding. Most recently, she helped create a peer tutoring program in mathematics, revised the curriculum to better prepare students for college, and designed professional development opportunities for teachers. Prior to joining the district, Gislaine was a director of academic assistance programs for YouthNet and a project director and trainer for the Children Defense Fund's Freedom Schools in Kansas City. She was also the first and only teacher selected to participate in the Kansas/Missouri cohort of the Educational Policy Fellowship Program.

What drives you to do the work that you do?
Watching young people develop self-confidence as they are empowered with the skills/tools necessary to succeed and become strong advocates for themselves gives me the motivation and energy to engage in the work. Raised in a culture with an unwavering belief in the value of a good education, my preK–12 years in Africa and Europe did more than expose me to the similarities and differences across education systems; along with the experiences I have had in America, they shed a light on the innumerable inequities that exist. I am passionate about being a part of the solution as I envision the positive impact society would feel if every child had access to the best education possible and a chance to attain his or her full academic potential.

Why does the Ed.L.D. Program make sense for you at this time?
The last three years in particular have prompted me to reflect on our educational system. My most recent assignment was at a school that has undergone tremendous changes due to "right-sizing" and restructuring efforts. Consequently, the school has gone from being near the top in terms of student growth and culture to landing close to the very bottom. The unfortunate truth is that this story is common to many schools/districts across America and young people are the victims of poorly implemented policies and senseless decisions. As I witnessed chaos take over a school with a previously promising future, it became evident that to become a stronger advocate for students, teachers, and families, I needed to expand my sphere of influence by learning more, sharpening my leadership skills, and working in collaboration with other creative thinkers who are not afraid to challenge the system.

Read More

Ryan Stewart
State: California
Recent Position: Lead Mentor
Employer: New Teacher Center
Degree: B.A., Stanford University
  Read More
After a successful tenure as an algebra and science teacher, Ryan Stewart served the past five years with the New Teacher Center in Santa Cruz, Calif., as a lead mentor for beginning teachers in math and science. His support accelerated the professional growth of his mentees and improved their students' educational outcomes. At the New Teacher Center, Ryan co-designed professional development sessions for implementing teacher-led professional learning teams. He is passionate about urban school reform that provides high-quality educational experiences to children from traditionally underserved populations. Ryan seeks to be a leader in the movement to transform inner-city schools and provide meaningful educational opportunities for all children.

What drives you to do the work that you do?
I am driven by both a sense of outrage at the lack of genuine high-quality educational opportunities for minority and low-income children in the United States, and by a firm belief that this challenge can be overcome with knowledgeable and inspired leadership along with the dedication of excellent teachers and thriving communities.

Why does the Ed.L.D. Program make sense for you at this time?
Over the past eight years, I have been able to gain extensive experience and insight into how public schools and school districts operate, and how nonprofits and philanthropic organizations can work in support of them. Completing the Ed.L.D. Program will allow me to deepen my knowledge about the best practices that allow school systems and their partner organizations to empower students and better support their communities, as well as provide me with practical skills for making leadership level strategic decisions.

Read More

The experience gained in the Ed.L.D. Program will position you for significant professional growth. Whether you plan to lead a school district, operate an educational organization, or develop a new enterprise, the program fosters the kind of leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit needed to transform the sector. Upon graduation, you will join a network of accomplished Ed.L.D. alumni who are already making a major impact on American preK–12 education in positions such as:
  • Network Superintendent, Boston Public Schools
  • Associate Partner, NewSchools Venture Fund
  • Director of Leadership Development, Washington, D.C. Public Schools
  • Partner, The Learning Accelerator
  • Director of Strategic Initiatives, Iowa Department of Education
  • Chief People Officer, KIPP Philadelphia Schools
  • Vice President of Strategy, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
  • Dean of Discovery Lab, Khan Academy
A program like no other,
to create leaders like no other.

American schools are failing too many of our children. Reforming them will require more than simple change – it will require transformation. We need leaders who understand education and have the capacity to manage complex organizations. The Harvard Graduate School of Education has launched the Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.), a unique program with the audacious vision of transforming American education. Read More

A three-year, tuition-free doctoral program for preK–12 system-level leaders, the Ed.L.D. is an innovation in higher education. Like an M.D. in medicine or J.D. in law, it is a practice-based doctoral program. A faculty group from HGSE, the Harvard Kennedy School, and the Harvard Business School created this degree to meet the needs of a changed sector. We are looking for candidates with fresh and diverse perspectives, including those from the education, business, public administration, and policy sectors.

The program includes one year of a custom-designed curriculum taught by faculty from HGSE, the Harvard Business School, and the Harvard Kennedy School; a second year of elective courses drawn from across the university; and a final yearlong residency with a partner organization that is leading the way in improving education in America.

All Ed.L.D. students receive a full-tuition funding package for the duration of the program, which includes stipend support in years one and two, as well as a paid residency in year three. By removing financial barriers, we seek to attract the best talent from – and new talent to – the education sector.

When you graduate from the program, you will have the skill sets, habits of mind, and disposition to act to transform the education sector.

Learn more about our Ed.L.D. students.

Learn more about our application process here.

The Three Years
To transform education, leaders need a combination of skills and knowledge, courage and humility, and action and reflection. They need to be able to operate successfully in the political environment and manage an organization, while focusing on the core work of learning and teaching. The innovative Ed.L.D. curriculum — custom-designed for this program and purpose — will prepare you to be an effective system-level leader.

Year One
You will engage in a highly integrated core curriculum that focuses on four areas: learning and teaching, leadership and organization change, politics and policy, and personal mastery. The year one curriculum incorporates a variety of teaching and learning modalities so that you develop and practice the habits of mind and dispositions to act as a system-level leader. You will be required to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the issues in each content area, as well as an ability to synthesize your learning within and across those areas in order to plan and implement large-scale improvement.

In addition, you will be expected to transform yourself through various experiences, including individualized executive coaching and yearlong learning teams, designed to support your personal development. Our goal is not to develop leaders for the system as it currently exists; rather, we aim to develop people who will lead system transformation.

Sample courses and units in the Year One core curriculum include:
  • Adult Development
  • Educational Effectiveness and Evidence-Based Leadership
  • Leaders of Learning
  • Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Learning
  • Leading Innovation and Change
  • Leading Through Difference
  • Leveraging Sector-Level Change
  • Public Narrative
  • Strategic Management of Public Sector Organizations
  • Teaming
  • Thinking Strategically about Education Reform
  • Workplace Lab for System-Level Leaders

Year Two
You will deepen your understanding of the first-year curriculum through a yearlong seminar in the second year. In addition, you will work closely with advisors to develop a tailored learning experience that includes taking elective courses at HGSE, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Kennedy School specifically chosen to complement individual learning needs and career aspirations. A sampling of our courses:

Harvard Business School: Harvard Graduate School of Education: Harvard Kennedy School:
Year Three

You will spend the third and final year of the program in a paid residency at one of the partner sites in our extensive nationwide network of influential and dynamic organizations, including public school systems; departments of education; and nonprofit, mission-based for-profit, and philanthropic organizations. These customized yearlong residency experiences are designed to enable students to test their leadership skills on projects of high priority to the organizations, as well as students' own theories of change.

You will be intentionally pushed out of your comfort zone and be asked to work systemically, organize other people's work, and be accountable. The residency will provide you with the professional mentoring and practical experiences you need to eventually effect meaningful education reform. In the third year, you will stay connected with your Ed.L.D. cohort and Harvard through technology and by returning to Harvard periodically for intensive workshops.

Recent residency sites include:
  • Achievement First
  • Bellingham (Wash.) Public Schools
  • Big Picture Learning
  • Boston Public Schools
  • Denver Public Schools
  • Iowa Department of Education
  • Knox County (Ky.) Public Schools
  • Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Montgomery County (Md.) Public Schools
  • National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
  • NewSchools Venture Fund
  • New York City Department of Education
  • The New Teacher Project
  • United States Department of Education