Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Educational Policy and Leadership Studies
This interpretive, exploratory qualitative study examines the similarities and differences between charter school leadership and traditional public school leadership. Previous research has examined the differences in school leadership in traditional public schools from large-scale, quantitative data (Cravens, Goldring,& Penaloza, 2012; Goff, Mavrogordato, & Goldring, 2012). Though research exists on specific facets of charter schools such as student achievement, there is little research on the needs of charter school leaders and how well-prepared they are for their unique roles (Huerta, 2009; Hughes & Silva, 2013). The purpose of this study is to contribute to the body of knowledge on school leadership by developing an emic description of the relationship between charter school leadership and traditional public school leadership through a qualitative interpretivist study approach.
School leaders in Minnesota who have been heads of school in both independent charter schools and traditional public schools were surveyed, and four were selected for in-depth follow-up interviews. The guiding research questions are: (1) What are the differences between traditional public school leadership and charter school leadership according to school leaders in Minnesota who have been leaders of both types of schools; (2) How do school leaders in Minnesota who have been leaders of both charter schools and traditional public schools experience instructional leadership in the different school organizations; and (3) How do school leadership preparation programs help prepare educators for leadership in charter schools?
Findings from this study indicate that differences in school leadership in traditional public schools and independent charter schools may exist due to organizational structure, including the expanded scope of school leadership in charter schools. However, some of the differences may be because of school size, as leaders with experience in both types of schools indicated that leading a charter school is similar to leading a small, rural, traditional public school. The findings also examine the structures created to support charter school leadership, and the need for professional community and support. Implications for school leader professional development and school leadership preparation programs are discussed.
xiii, 163 pages
Includes bibliographical references (pages 152-163).
Copyright © 2017 Sarah G. Hale Keuseman