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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Dennis Brennan

First Committee Member

Stephen Davis

Second Committee Member

Phyllis Hensley

Third Committee Member

Britt Ferguson


Today's schools need to be restructured or redesigned to meet the needs of an ever-growing diverse student body. Global interdependence and competition have made this mandate necessary, and the business community has pressed for it as a result of entry-level workers failing to meet minimum standards. This reality, coupled with a greater number of students dropping out of school, spurs an imperative need to create some changes in our public schools. This study suggests that change cannot come with the same type of leadership that has been at the public education forefront. Schools can only develop new paradigms, systemic reform, and continuous improvement efforts when they are led by individuals who possess the skills, characteristics, understandings, and practices necessary to transform the existing system. This transformation can only come through transformational leaders. To institutionalize and sustain these changes, the key player is the superintendent, who must possess this knowledge and be the primary structure builder of transformational ideology throughout the organization. The purpose of this study was to identify transformational superintendents, and to study their leadership principles and practices, particularly toward a view of how these leaders create change in their organizations. Selected superintendents were identified through administration of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire created by Bass and Avolio (1997). Visits to districts were made, and data gathered through a number of means. The results identified thirteen transformational superintendent attributes; twelve beliefs; three perspectives on assessing organizational effectiveness, several key processes of communicating transformational ideology throughout an organization; seven aspects of creating change in existing school cultures; and five structures for creating systemic change and sustained continuous improvement. The findings indicated that transformational leaders do have a district-wide felt impact that results in positive leadership outcomes for the organization.




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