Date of Award

Spring 3-30-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Cindy Petersen

Second Advisor

Dr. Keith Larick

Third Advisor

Dr. Jim Cox

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Patricia Clark-White


Purpose: The purpose of this thematic, mixed-methods case study was to identify and describe the behaviors that exemplary K-12 superintendents use to create personal and organizational meaning for themselves and their followers through character, vision, relationships, wisdom, and inspiration. In addition, it was the purpose of this study to determine the degree of importance to which followers perceive the behaviors related to character, vision, relationships, wisdom, and inspiration help to create personal and organizational meaning.

Methodology: This study was accomplished through interviews of exemplary K-12 superintendents in urban and suburban public school districts in Northern California and surveying followers in the organizations.

Findings: The findings from this research illustrate how exemplary K-12 superintendents use behaviors that include character, vision, relationships, wisdom, and inspiration to make personal and organizational meaning. By identifying and describing the behaviors K-12 superintendents use through the five domains, best practices may be able to be developed.

Recommendations: Further research is recommended by replicating this study with other principals and teachers to create meaning through the five domains. There is a need to conduct a study combining the results of this study with the peer researchers and to compare the results. Other recommendations include superintendents’ description of values that support character, followers’ perceived leader behaviors that demonstrate character, the relationship between time spent with superintendents and followers’ perceived meaning, and depth of meaning achieved by superintendent longevity.

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