Date of Award

Spring 4-13-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Philip Pendley, Ed.D. Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Melissa Bazanos, Ed.D

Third Advisor

Dr. Christy Goennier, Ed.D


Purpose:The purpose of this study was to identify and describe the factors that facilitate the building and sustaining of a trusting relationship between experienced superintendents and principals. An additional purpose of this study was to determine what similarities and differences exist between superintendents and principals perceptions of the factors that build and sustain a trusting relationship. Methodology: This was a qualitative phenomenological comparative design to first determine the lived experiences of 16 total participants, eight superintendents and eight principals from both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Face-to-Face interviews were conducted and responses from the total of 16 questions were coded to analyze. Findings:The findings of this study included identifying the factors and actions that superintendents take to build and sustain a trusting relationship with principals. Based upon this study the results indicated that there were a number of factors that affected and influenced the maintenance and sustainability of trust. Including but not limited to, open communication, building trust, extension of trust and building relationships. Conclusion: Open, honest, transparent communication in the form of various modalities that enabled the building and maintaining of trust were the most important factors in the establishing and sustaining of a relationship of trust between school district superintendents and principals. A wide variety of communication skills are critical, especially for the superintendent, for the health of the relationship between the principals and superintendents. Recommendations: Further research is advised. Descriptive studies of the identified factors that establish and maintain trust should be replicated with a larger set of data with the goal of impacting the current programs used to train those in leadership positions. Further recommendations include continued research on trust relationships in educational relationships: principals/teachers, teachers/students, county superintendents/district superintendents and superintendents/school boards.

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