Doctoral Learner Spotlight: Dr. James A. Gagné

Doctoral student studies in cafe setting on laptop

Get to know James A. Gagné, EdD, alumnus of Grand Canyon University’s College of Doctoral Studies. Dr. Gagné received his EdD in organizational leadership from GCU in 2015. Read about his background and what he is doing now.


  1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

My education background includes an Associate of Science degree in architectural technology from Fayetteville Technical Community College, Fayetteville, NC in 2000; a Bachelor of Science degree in technology education from North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC in 2007; and a master’s in school administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Pembroke, NC in 2009. I then went on to earn my doctorate degree in organizational leadership from Grand Canyon University in 2015.

In addition to pursing my degrees, I have attended the University of Houston, University of South Carolina and Rochester Institute of Technology, taking specialized courses for teaching a pre-engineering curriculum. I began teaching as a lateral entry teacher in January 2001, progressing to assistant principal in 2007. I have had specialized training in the PLTW pre-engineering curriculum, which I taught for 6.5 years.

  1. What are you doing currently?

I live and work in Fayetteville, NC. I am a member of the North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principals’ Association and the Cumberland County Principal and Assistant Principals’ Association, and I am an assistant principal in a southeastern North Carolina school district. In addition, I am currently in the early stages of collecting data to begin writing a book to help guide beginning teachers and school administrators in their development of successful teachers.

  1. What led to your decision to pursue your doctorate degree at GCU?

When I decided to work towards earning a doctorate degree, I experienced a range of doubts. Could I do this while working full time? Was I knowledgeable enough? Could I achieve this at my age? I chose Grand Canyon University, where I found out right away that my professors were highly responsive and actually cared about my progress. I remember vividly the day I received the email that began, “Dr. Gagné, I would like to be the first to congratulate you.”

As I look back at all the pressure I put on myself, it was well worth it. I have accomplished something only few do in a lifetime, and I owe a great deal to GCU and the staff who worked diligently to help me be successful.

Grand Canyon University’s College of Doctoral Studies creates learning opportunities for scholars to pursue a purposeful doctoral journey. To learn more about receiving an education from GCU, request more information today!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.