Image of William Sterrett

Dr. William Sterrett

Associate Professor, Interim Associate Dean of Teacher Education & Outreach

Department of Educational Leadership

University of North Carolina Wilmington
Watson College of Education, Room 160
601 South College Road
Wilmington, North Carolina 28403-5991
phone: (910) 962-4174
fax: (910) 962-3609

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Ph.D., Education Administration and Supervision, University of Virginia
M.Ed., Administration and Supervision, University of Virginia
B.S., Middle School Education, Asbury College


William Sterrett is an associate professor and interim Associate Dean for Teacher Education and Outreach.  He previously served as Graduate Program Coordinator for the Master’s in School Administration (MSA) and add-on licensure programs. Sterrett has researched and written extensively about the collaborative role of school leadership, including the role of the principal, teacher leadership, and school improvement & innovation. His articles have appeared in journals such as Educational Administration Quarterly, Educational Leadership, the Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, and the Kappa Delta Pi Record.  He has also authored three ASCD books, including Insights into Action: Successful School Leaders Share What Works, a 2011 ASCD Member Book. Sterrett’s teaching centers on instructional leadership, managerial leadership, leadership theory, and field-based leadership applications. Sterrett recently led the US State Department funded grant “Innovating and Designing Engaged Applications in STEM Education” (IDEA-STEM), a collaborative effort with the University of Education Lahore in Pakistan.

Prior to coming to UNCW in 2010, Sterrett served as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal in Charlottesville, Virginia. He received the Milken National Educator award as a principal with Albemarle County Schools in 2008, and was recognized by the VA General Assembly in 2009. 

Recently Funded Projects

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Sterrett and a collaborative team received a US State Department Grant to collaborate with educators in Pakistan on middle school STEM teaching and learning.  Sterrett serves as lead Principal Investigator (PI) for the one-year sponsored effort.  Read more here.

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Sterrett serves as Lead PI on a three-year competitive UNCW Experiencing Transformative Education through Applied Learning (ETEAL) grant called Innovation in Teaching and Learning Leadership (iTALL) which has brought together faculty and students in two departments: Educational Leadership and Instructional Technology, Foundations, and Secondary Education to help foster collaboration and reflection between pre-service administrators and teachers in regards to STEM teaching and learning.  Read more here.

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Sterrett serves on a collaborative multi-university grant effort awarded by the Colonial Academic Alliance as a part of the Innovate/Collaborate (IN/CO) Grant Program.  This two-year effort is called “Innovative Strategies for High-Impact Practices: Access. Success, and the CAA Student-Athlete” – Sterrett serves as a Institutional Lead/ Investigator on the grant effort, in which UNCW’s James DeVita serves as a PI on the grant and Sue Combs also serves as an institutional lead.  Read more here.

Additional Information


Igniting Teacher Leadership: How do I empower my teachers to lead and learn? (ASCD, 2016) by William Sterrett

Leadership in the storm- Hurricane Florence significantly impacted schools and districts, and also affected the way in which school leaders engaged their roles to support their learning communities.  Dr. Sterrett visited schools impacted by Florence in the immediate aftermath of the storm to better understand school leadership in the midst of crises.  Read and listen to the principals in this Education Week feature.

IDEA-STEM grant in Pakistan- Sterrett served as Principal Investigator in a collaborative effort sponsored by a US State Department Grant.  Sterrett and a collaborative team of faculty from UNCW and Towson, including two UNCW Ed.D. students, worked with educators in Pakistan to support middle school instruction in targeted STEM areas.  Read more in this Watson Chronicle story.

University Teaching Award- Dr. Sterrett received the UNCW Graduate Mentor Award, which is presented annually to “an outstanding faculty member who excels in mentoring graduate students through teaching excellence, chairing graduate committees, attracting graduate students to study at UNCW and demonstrated success in socializing students in their chosen profession.” Read more about Sterrett’s work with educational leaders in this UNCW profile.