Date Approved

5-13-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Doolittle, Virginia

Subject(s)

Education, Preschool;School management and organization

Disciplines

Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | Pre-Elementary, Early Childhood, Kindergarten Teacher Education

Abstract

The purpose of my dissertation study was to examine my own leadership in the context of the community inclusive preschool that I own and operate along with my business partner. The focus was to build a collaborative organization through a shared vision and improved staff skill capacity. In order to implement the change process, I chose the specific learning environment of our instructional student centers (i.e., "zones") as the setting to conduct my action research project. The study describes both my personal leadership theory as well as an analysis of my leadership actions (i.e., theory in use) in order to examine gaps between theoretical beliefs and actual application. The overall objective of the process was to determine which leadership actions would improve the quality of service delivery to the students by addressing staff capacity and an organization-wide shared vision of the preschool inclusive program model. The goal of the study was to better align my theory of leadership with my daily actions as a leader within my organization. Outcomes realized during the change process were the successful development of both specialized curriculum and staff skills via adherence to protocols during the instructional zones setting, as well as the emergence of true collaboration among members in this specified setting. Challenges remain in the overall understanding and acceptance of a shared vision for the organization and resistance during the change process is documented. The process revealed transactional rather than transformational leadership actions that likely contribute to the limited development of an overall collaborative organization during the course of the study. The dissertation study utilized a mixed method approach to address leadership questions within this action research project. Quantitative data from objective measurement of staff competency in implementing protocols and surveys of parental satisfaction ratings of the preschool program were supplemented by qualitative data via informal interviews and personal leadership journal entries. The study documents improved staff capacity within the instructional zones environment and emergence of a shared vision through the collaborative process of zone development. The study also revealed gaps between my espoused leadership theory and my theory in use, as my belief system valued collaboration and transformation of those I supervise; however, my leadership actions were often transactional and enabling rather than empowering.