Date of Award

Spring 4-15-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Keith Larick

Second Advisor

Cindy Petersen

Third Advisor

General Davie


Purpose: The purpose of this explanatory sequential mixed-methods study was to identify and describe what strategies exemplary rural superintendents perceive as most important to build trust with school board members using the five domains of competence, consistency, concern, candor, and connection.

Methodology: This explanatory sequential mixed-methods case study combined both quantitative and qualitative approaches, also known as an explanatory sequential mixed-methods study. Numerical data (quantitative), through use of a survey, were used to provide the researcher a broad perspective on how exemplary superintendents build trust with and between school board members. Also, narrative data (qualitative), in the form of select open-ended interviews of exemplary superintendents, were used to determine successful experiences related to building trust with and between school board members (Roberts, 2010).

Findings: The first major finding of the trust research with exemplary rural superintendents was that each superintendent who participated concurred that all five domains—competence, consistency, concern, candor, and connection—were found to be important when building trust with and between school board members. The second major overarching finding from the study was that communication is a critical function and transcends all domains. Communication was consistently mentioned during the qualitative interviews as an important component for building trust with and between superintendents and board members. The superintendents emphasized the need for constant, open, and honest conversations with board members.

Conclusions: The study supported the conclusion that the exemplary rural superintendents who participated in this study believe and use all five trust domains (competence, consistency, concern, candor, and connection) including communication as a sixth domain. All five exemplary rural superintendents described during their interviews ways in which they use the five domains and communication to build and maintain trust with and between their school board members.

Recommendations: Based on the findings of this study, the researcher believes there is a void of information that warrants an expansion of research for superintendents. Future research could provide more breadth and depth or have a different twist on potential related topics.