Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Johnson, Ane Turner

Second Advisor

Rich, Jennifer

Third Advisor

Wilson-Hill, Zalphia


Home and school; School administrators


Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | Elementary Education


The purpose of this qualitative, ethnographic case study was to describe the ways in which three school leaders from small, rural PreK-8 districts (less than 1,000 students) in Southern New Jersey used similar methods for fostering partnerships with families and bonds between individuals, families and schools to address social emotional learning skills and development in the early childhood setting (grades pre-kindergarten through third grade). In addition, this study examined how the organizational culture of the educational organizations reinforced or undermined the relationship between school and family partnerships and bonds. This study investigated the linkage between school leaders' experiences and social development theory and theory of family-school connections and how the norms, values and beliefs held by the schools and families created or maintained the organizational culture for partnership. This study encompassed research that suggested educational organizations, facilitated by school leaders, have their own culture and serve as a place where families become attached to, involve themselves, and construct partnerships.