Dr. Bill Sterrett began serving as Department Chair and Professor of Educational Leadership in Baylor University’s School of Education in 2022. Before joining Baylor, Sterrett served as Associate Dean and Professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Prior to Sterrett’s 12-year tenure at UNCW, he was a principal and teacher in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Sterrett earned his undergraduate degree at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, where he studied middle grades education and was a three-year letter winner for the men's basketball team. He received his M.Ed. and Ph.D. at the University of Virginia, studying educational administration. Sterrett served as a middle grades science teacher and elementary assistant principal before receiving the Milken National Educator award as a Title I school principal in Charlottesville. At UNCW, he served as program coordinator for the Master’s of School Administration program and was awarded the university’s Graduate Mentor Award for his efforts in teaching and mentoring students. Then, as Associate Dean, he oversaw the college's Professional Development System, Office of Professional Experiences, Education Lab and Curriculum Materials Center, provided support for grant writing and research, and supported efforts with the Isaac Bear Early College High School and D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy (K-8 lab school).

Sterrett’s research focuses on innovation in educational leadership, including sustainable green schools and districts, digital principals, and technology-savvy superintendents. Sterrett has written ASCD books on school leadership and articles in journals such as the Journal of Educational Administration, the Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, and Educational Administration Quarterly. Sterrett collaboratively led an effort involving three schools that received the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School designation. As Lead Principal Investigator of the U.S. State Department grant IDEA-STEM, Sterrett traveled with an interdisciplinary team of faculty and doctoral students to Lahore, Pakistan, to engage in STEM-focused professional development. He is part of an NSF-sponsored grant effort connecting first-year university STEM students with a K-8 partner school to foster STEM learning and engagement. Dr. Sterrett has co-authored publications with numerous students at the undergraduate, Master’s, and doctoral levels on topics ranging from principal instructional leadership, sustainability leadership, student-athlete perspectives, and school improvement.

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Degrees (2)

Asbury College
Wilmore, KY
Bachelor of Science in Middle School Education

University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA
Ph.D. in Education: Administration & Supervision

Certifications (1)

Superintendent, Principal, Science 6-9, Social Studies 6-9
NC 2020-2025

Research Interests (5)

Time management for school leaders

Time is a valuable resource. In this ASCD Arias book titled Short on Time: How do I make time to learn and lead as a principal? I overview how principals can maximize instructional time by making smart use of transitions and recruiting teachers to build the school schedule; communicate about the work of the school in timely, innovative ways; balance district, instructional, school, and community events and responsibilities; and run efficient meetings that cultivate professional growth and promote collegial learning.

Synergy of Supervision

School leadership is not just for principals alone. Principals and teachers working together to improve instruction can transform the school into an engaging student-centered learning environment. I have engaged in studies looking at principals and teachers’ time, principal perspectives of instructional delivery, and collaboration between teachers, principals, university faculty, and district leaders that promotes collaborative transformation of interdisciplinary learning. Read more about this collaborative work that brought principal preparation and teacher preparation programs together in the Journal of Educational Supervision.

Green Schools

As a researcher and university collaborator, I have worked with schools and districts who have been recognized as U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School (ED-GRS) awardees. These educational systems prioritize health & wellness, STEM/ outdoors education, and stewardship of resources. Read about how university faculty, staff, and school partners collaborated together in this PDS Partners article.

Tech-Savvy Principal and Superintendent Leadership

Digital principals and tech-savvy superintendents lead through innovation, encouraging teacher leadership, maximizing social presence, and fostering professional learning networks to bolster the expertise of their schools and districts. I have co-authored research publications in the Journal of Organizational and Educational Leadership, the Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, the Journal of Educational Administration and Educational Administration Quarterly.

School Improvement and Innovation

Principals and teachers work together to foster school improvement in areas ranging from targeted, short-cycle focus areas to long-term strategic planning. The principal should seek to understand, and involve multiple perspectives in this work and protect teachers’ time through scheduling, minimizing interruptions, and providing coverage to maximize their involvement and leadership in this work. Principals play an important role in valuing teachers’ time and in empowering a shared leadership approach to school improvement.