Outstanding Dissertation Award

This award recognizes an exceptional doctoral level dissertation that expands the knowledge of educational leadership at the postsecondary or K-20 levels. It recognizes outstanding research of our graduate students and encourages professors and early scholars to join TCPEA. Nominations for the next awards cycle will be due in fall 2022.


Dr. Darlene Breaux

Director of the Research and Evaluation Institute at HCDE


Julia Ballenger

Professor, Texas A&M University-Commerce

Past Recipients


Jericah Jackson

Assistant Principal, Aldine ISD


Michael D. Jones

Exploring Scholar — Practitioner Leadership: Superintendents’ Application of Theory to Practice in Texas Public School Districts


Stephanie Johnson

Up From Poverty: A Narrative Nonfiction Study of Three Female Superintendents From Poverty


Marc Puig

Dr. Marc Puig, University of Mary Hardin Baylor, was recognized as the recipient of TCPEA’s 2014 Outstanding Dissertation during the council’s Midwinter Conference meeting in January 2015.

Selection/Eligibility Criteria

Doctoral dissertations must be successfully defended within the previous year from the award date. For example, the Dissertation of the Year that is to be presented at the TCPEA Midwinter meeting in January 2021 must have been defended by students who graduated in December 2019, May 2020, or August 2020.

Dissertations considered for the TCPEA Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award should:

  • Be completed within the previous year of the award date as stated above.
  • Be submitted by student, but sponsored by current TCPEA member whose name appears on cover sheet.
  • Align with the TCPEA mission.
  • Seek to address significant research question(s).
  • Contribute to the literature on educational administration, such as studies of administration and or the role and function of the administrator in K-20 schools, studies of the history of educational administration or of the lives of major contributors to the field, or other studies related to educational administration.
  • Be methodologically appropriate.


The nomination includes two parts:

  • Part A – cover sheet with appropriate information
  • Part B – a blind copy of a six-page double-spaced abstract of the dissertation

Both parts must be submitted electronically to the TCPEA Dissertation Award Chairperson, Dr. Danna Beaty, by the deadline. A three-person committee of TCPEA members will determine the award winner. The awards chair will notify the award recipient.

Part A. Cover Sheet

  • Title of degree
  • One page vita
  • University granting degree and date granted
  • Name of dissertation chair (must be current TCPEA member)
  • 150-word summary of abstract
  • Name, mailing address, phone, email of student submitting

Part B: Abstract – Blind Copy
(six, double-spaced pages plus appendices as needed) Abstract includes (only include references in the appendix that are used in the abstract):

  • Title page (title only, no other identifying information) – do not count this page
  • Introduction – background of problem, purpose of research, significance of study
  • Theory/Rationale – discuss theoretical basis or literature base referring to the relevant literature
  • Methodology – sample, instrumentation, data collection, data analysis, validity/reliability (in appendix include additional information as needed)
  • Findings and Discussion – report and discuss findings
  • Conclusions, Implications for Practice & Recommendations – state conclusions, implications for practice, and make recommendations for future studies

Award Presentation

The award is presented at the TCPEA Conference Within a Conference held in conjunction with the TASA Midwinter Conference each January, and the recipient is recognized on the TCPEA website. The award includes an honorarium of $250 and a one-year membership to TCPEA.