Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Raivetz, Mark

Second Advisor

Johnson, Ane Turner

Third Advisor

Manning, JoAnn


School boards--New Jersey; Education--Government policy


Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this descriptive multiple case study was to explore the actions of educational leaders when implementing policy that may be deemed controversial, through the lenses of sensemaking theory. Findings provide insight on how districts leaders are able to operate efficiently and effectively, and shows that it is essential for board members and the superintendent to adapt to the given situations, to reflect on the current setting, and to be committed to moving forward. The organization looks to the superintendent to be the educational leader, but also to be the one to provide the guidance and means to create and share the vision that balances the requirements of the state with the needs of the local district. Educational leaders strive to find the balance of coordination and control as they make sense, frame, derive, and interpret multiple messages to guide their management of future interactions. Leaders must lead and maneuver situations to move the organization forward, but must also recognize the situation and the environment to maintain a commitment to move forward all parties together on a common vision. Implications for practice and research are discussed.