Image of William Sterrett

Dr. William Sterrett

Professor, Associate Dean of Engagement, Professional Learning, and Scholarship

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


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


Bill Sterrett serves as Associate Dean for the Office of Engagement, Professional Learning, and Scholarship in the Watson College of Education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Sterrett’s research centers on collaborative school leadership, including the role of the principal, school innovation, teacher leadership, STEM leadership and school improvement. His research has been funded by the U.S. State Department, the National Science Foundation, and the UNCW ETEAL Strategic Initiatives Award. He has authored three ASCD books and has (co-)authored articles in journals such as Educational Administration Quarterly, Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, Journal of Educational Administration, and Educational Leadership. Sterrett has involved UNCW students—ranging from undergraduate to doctoral-level—in grant work, research projects, publications, and presentations. He earned his B.S. in Middle Grades Education at Asbury College (KY) and his M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Education Administration & Supervision at the University of Virginia. Prior to coming to UNCW in 2010, Sterrett served as a middle grades science teacher, assistant principal, and Title I principal in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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.

Sterrett serves as co-PI in a three-year National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) effort that will support summer undergraduate research opportunities for first-year students who aspire to work in the marine sciences. This effort involves the K-8 DC Virgo lab school, providing the foundation for future scientists to communicate and translate their work to broader audiences.  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.

Watson Grants Workshops - UNCW faculty and staff have engaged in workshops and collaborative follow-ups regarding recent external grants efforts and new possibilities. Colleagues from within Watson and across campus have led breakout sessions on writing, budgeting, and collaborating with grant work. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this work was moved to an online modality to focus on “succeeding during disruption.” Learn more in this Watson Chronicle article.

D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy - UNCW has partnered with New Hanover County Schools to support a K-8 school as a part of the North Carolina Lab Schools legislation.  This collaborative effort brings university and school educators together to support students and families.  Read more in this EdNC article.

Green Ribbon Schools collaboration- The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) distinction recognizes schools, districts, and universities that focus on excellence in the three “green pillars” that include health and wellness; effective environmental stewardship; and environmental and sustainability education. Sterrett collaborated with D.C. Virgo, UNCW, and partnership school Wrightsville Beach Elementary to pursue the ED-GRS designation.