Freddy J. Waddell and Stephen F. Waddell Scholarship for Innovative Leaders

Purpose: A fund in honor of Dr. Freddy J. Waddell and Dr. Stephen F. Waddell.


  1. Meet the minimum entrance and continuing academic performance standards of the College of Education (or its successor) in effect at the time of any award;
  2. Maintain at least half-time enrollment as established by the University, unless the student is nearing completion of their degree program and does not need at least half-time enrollment;
  3. Enroll as at least a half-time doctoral student in Educational Leadership and be seeking the Superintendent Certification (or their successors) at the University; in the event no applicant meets this criteria, then doctoral students enrolling at least half-time in the Department of Teacher Education and Administration (or its successor) at the University will be eligible for consideration; and
  4. Submit a statement on his or her beliefs regarding the characteristics and values of innovative leadership and his or her intent to become a superintendent (if not already currently).

Fred Waddell began his school leadership career in a small California school district where he was principal and superintendent. He was passionate about all students, but had a particular heart for those who were underprivileged. His innovative approach brought benefits to the district that were unprecedented at the time, including the founding of a library that featured cutting edge media and technology resources. While there, he saw the future that computing and technology could play in public schools. He was also proud that he established an orchestra at his middle school in which most students participated, and that was unheard of in Central California.

Dr. Waddell served as Dean of a small private college in Idaho and then spent the remainder of his career at Region V Education Service Center in Beaumont, TX. At Region V he worked with districts to implement standards based curriculum and curriculum management, and he led the implementation of technology as both a management and instructional tool in Southeast Texas. His efforts were pioneering in these areas.

Fred Waddell always placed children first and did so by building staff capacity and utilizing innovative approaches to enrich learning and bring effective tools to support teachers. He facilitated strong leadership development with regional leaders through high quality professional learning using collaborative, team-building approaches. He built strong relationships with district leaders and was respected regionally and throughout the state.

Dr. Waddell was the. first in his family to obtain a college degree and a doctorate, which he proudly earned al North Texas State University.

Known as a leader in public education in Texas and across the nation, Dr. Stephen Waddell is recognized for his leadership in transforming classrooms by increasing student engagement, spearheading teacher innovation in instructional best practices, fostering community involvement, as well as redesigning learning spaces. Throughout his twenty years as superintendent, Dr. Waddell served various sized districts, the last being the Lewisville Independent School District Superintendent of Schools, the nation's 97th largest school district. He retired from that position in 2015.

Dr. Waddell was noted for leading innovation in technology integration. building design, engaging teaching practices, and strategic design focused on broad community participation. He was recognized as Texas Computer Education Association's Superintendent of the Year, Texas Association of School Board's Finalist for Superintendent of the Year. He was among 100 superintendents invited to the White House for a summit on technology in schools.

Dr. Waddell was a founding member of the Texas Visioning Institute and served as a member of its Design Team leadership group. The publication of "Creating a New Vision For Public Education in Texas," was a landmark event spearheading massive change in legislation and transformative classroom practice. He participated in passing legislation that created the Texas High Performing Schools Consortium, which the legislature and State Board continues to look to for new state standards and accountability models.

His career spanned 36 years as a public educator. He earned his Bachelor of Arts and his Ed.D. from the University of North Texas.

Steve and his father both dedicated their lives to innovative practice as educational leaders. They often discussed school leadership, and how today's schools need a different kind of leader. Today, the UNT College of Education can cultivate that different kind of leader - someone who is interested in innovative thinking and is able to affect positive change at the district level. Steve and the family of Dr. Fred J. Waddell are thrilled to help future educational leaders achieve their doctoral degrees through this UNT College of Education scholarship, which is proudly named for Steve and his father.