Department of Educational Leadership

The Educational Leadership Department primarily serves to prepare for K-12 education in Texas and beyond. The department houses both a Doctor of Education program and Masters of Education program. Principal and Superintendent preparation programs are also a major part of the department’s responsibility.

The department is dedicated to addressing the needs of its diverse student population through the offering of courses in modes that are mindful of time, geographic, and economic constraints placed on these students.  In response to this obligation, most of the coursework in both the doctoral and masters programs are now fully online. Some certification courses do incorporate onsite learning to satisfy state requirements for Principal and Superintendent preparation programs.

The Department of Educational Leadership graduates more than 200 students each year and is one of the largest administrator preparation programs in the state. Faculty utilizes a variety of innovative teaching processes to reach a diversified student population across the state.

Texas A&M University-Commerce has one of the highest graduation rates among Texas public institutions for doctoral programs. The Department of Educational Leadership ranks near the top in Texas in the preparation of K-12 Principals and Superintendents. Our programs are designed for the working practitioner while holding to the highest standards of scholarship and professionalism.

Meet Our Faculty                                                 

  • Melissa Arrambide

    Melissa Arrambide has over 18 years experience in public education. Experiences include teacher, assistant principal, principal, Director of Special Services, as well as Independent Consultant for districts throughout the metroplex.

    Areas of Research:

    Second language acquisition and leadership.

  • Julia Ballenger

    Faculty member of the Masters in Ed. Administration and Principal Cert. Program. She has served in administrative and teaching roles in public schools, at the state level, and in education for the past 40 years.

    Areas of Research:

    STEM, mentoring, principal program evaluation, social justice leadership, and cultural and global competency.

  • Arthur J Borgemenke

    Arthur Borgemenke is an Assistant Professor of EdD. In addition to his Higher Education service at three universities, he has many years of public education classroom teaching, campus and central office administrative experience.

    Areas of Research:

    Developing efficacious methods of delivering terminal degrees to under-served populations.

  • Mary Jo Dondlinger

    Faculty in Educational Technology masters programs. Her prior experiences include teaching college writing, designing career and technical degree programs, and directing college-wide institutional effectiveness efforts.

    Areas of Research:

    Teaching methodologies and technologies for complex problem-solving and life-long dispositions in learning

  • Shari Farris

    Dr. Farris has served in teaching and leadership roles at the university level for the past 6 years. She has over 15 years of experience in school administration and teaching.

    Areas of Research:

    Educational policy, assessment, and teacher leadership

  • Alan Francis

    Alan Francis was an instructional designer from 2006-2009. He gained six years of extensive online teaching experience in the College of Business before his move to Educational Leadership in 2014.

    Areas of Research:

    Online course design and testing

  • Deborah  Goodwin

    Dr. Goodwin has served as a secondary teacher, an elementary principal, an assistant superintendent, a consultant to school districts in academic distress, and an assistant professor of educational leadership.

    Areas of Research:

    Effective Organizational Operations and Differentiated Instruction.

  • Kriss Kemp Graham

  • Chuck Holt

    Dr. Holt serves as the coordinator for the EDAD Doctoral Program and Executive Director of the School Leadership Alliance. He served as a public school Principal and Superintendent for 25 years.

    Areas of Research:

    School Finance, Teacher Efficacy and Leadership.

  • Jackie Jones

    Jackie Jones has served in administrative and teaching roles in Texas at the pre-kindergarten through university graduate level. She serves as a Lead Evaluator volunteer for SACS/AdvancED.

    Areas of Research:

    School accreditation and improvement

  • Madeline Justice

    She teaches online doctoral courses in the Higher Education program. She has served in in teaching and administrative roles in the university, community college and public school.

    Areas of Research:

    curriculum development, diversity, reading, emotional intelligence and educational research.

  • JoHyun  Kim

    JoHyun Kim has her specialization in higher education and community college leadership.

    Areas of Research:

    Students' access to and success in higher education focusing on high school-to-college transition, dual credit, college readiness, and students' retention and graduation.

  • Charlotte Larkin

    Charlotte Larkin has served in administrative and teaching roles at the university level for the past 18 years. She previously worked in the computer industry in the private sector.

    Areas of Research:

    Online instructional design, teaching, and learning.

  • Derek Lester

    Derek Lester is an assistant professor in the Higher Education program.

    Areas of Research:

    Students' motivation to attend college students' perceptions of academic environments, engagement, and persistence, and guided by theories of evolutionary psychology and person/environment fit.

  • Ava Munoz

    She has taught Educational Leadership, at the university level, for the past 7 years. She previously worked in Texas P-12 schools, as a teacher and school administrator.

    Areas of Research:

    Superintendency, gender equity, social justice and mentoring.


    Dr. Robert Munday served as Professor and Head of the department of Secondary & Higher Education. Dr. Munday joined the faculty at Texas A&M University-Commerce in 1965; his career spanned 36 years.

  • William R   Ogden

    William R. ''Bill'' Ogden has got thirty-six years of teaching and administrative service experience. He teaches an online section of HIED 627, History of Higher Education in the United States

    Areas of Research:

    Science Education

  • Warren Ortloff

    Ortloff has served as school administrator and teacher elementary through high school. School administrative experience includes international assignments in Colombia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait.

    Areas of Research:

    Comparative education, program development, educator value systems and motivation.

  • Delores Rice

    Delores Rice conducts research in STEM, with a passion for engineering education and social justice. Having earned a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering,.

    Areas of Research:

    African American female engineers and other underrepresented groups in the STEM disciplines..

  • Paul M Sullivan

    Paul M. Sullivan is an interim professor in the Educational Leadership Department. He received his EdD from the University of Georgia and has recently served on two NEASC accreditation teams (Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi)

    Areas of Research:

    Program improvement and global educational awareness, as it relates to refugee education.

  • Nathan R Templeton

    Nathan R. Templeton is Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership. Dr. Templeton has served Texas P-12 schools in various administrative roles, including fine arts coordinator and campus principal.

    Areas of Research:

    Academic achievement and the achievement gaps, mentoring of educators, and improving the professional practice of principals.

  • Ray Thompson

    Ray Thompson has served in administrative/teaching roles at the university level for the past seven years. Previously, he worked in Texas P-12 schools as teacher and superintendent and for TEA.

    Areas of Research:

    Educational leadership, instruction, and online education.

  • Jon Travis

    Jon Travis has served as a professor and administrator in higher education for 26 years.

    Areas of Research:

    Threats to Public Education, Qualitative Research, Law, College Teaching, and Higher Education.

  • James  Tunnell

    Dr. James Tunnell served as Professor in the department of Secondary & Higher Education. Dr. Tunnell joined the faculty at Texas A&M University-Commerce in 1971 and served as Associate Professor and then Professor for 30 years.

  • James Vornberg

    Jim Vornberg has been a faculty member at A&M commerce for the past 40 years, serving as professor, department head, and interim dean. He is editor of the Texas Public School Organization and Administration text now in its 14th edition.

    Areas of Research:

    Principalship and school facilities

  • Mary Webb

    Mary Webb is an Assistant Professor and a Superintendent in Arkansas. She has served in public schools as a teacher and an administrator for 38 years.

    Areas of Research:

    Gender studies, TESS and safety in public schools


  • Seung Won  Yoon