Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Douge DeVore

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa Simon

Third Advisor

Dr. Paulette Koss


Purpose: The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to identify and describe how elementary school principals establish trust with staff using the 5 domains of competence, consistency, concern, candor, and connection (Weisman, 2010). In addition, it was the purpose of this study to determine the elementary school principals’ perceived degree of importance for the 5 domains of consistency, competence, candor, concern, and connection for building trust.

Methodology: This mixed-methods research design used quantitative and qualitative data to analyze the research questions related to trust between elementary school principals and their staff. This study used both surveys and in-person interviews. The population for this study included elementary school principals within the San Bernardino in California.

Findings: The quantitative analysis of data resulted in 24 themes for the first 5 questions. Each of the 5 domains of trust produced at least 2 high-ranked findings. Based on the criteria designed by the researcher, 11 major findings were discovered. For the quantitative portion, competence resulted as the most important domain for building trust with a mean of 5.7 and 70% of respondents indicating strongly agree.

Conclusions: Six conclusions were drawn from the data and findings. Elementary principals must (a) exercise all five domains simultaneously to establish trust, (b) connect with their staff members to receive input from them, (c) show concern through the interactions with their staff members to show they are valued, (d) have the ability to share their own instructional experiences and knowledge, (e) create a space conducive to open communication, and (f) lead by example.

Implications: This study revealed that behaviors related to the five domains of trust establish trust between principals and staff members. As such, it is crucial for universities to create educational programs that consist of various forms of leadership styles to create school leaders who are multifaceted in leading schools. Next, it is important that both aspiring principals and current principals take time for self-reflection and allow feedback from others so they can grow as professionals. Also, all school districts should establish an administrative mentorship program to develop and support school leaders. Lastly, joining administrative associations and taking part in professional development will provide school leaders with a competitive advantage in the field of education.