Date of Award

Winter 12-8-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Douglas DeVore

Second Advisor

Alan Enomoto

Third Advisor

Patrick Ainsworth


Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore and describe K12 public school superintendents’ perceived impact of the seven servant leadership constructs established by Patterson (2003) on establishing a culture of high performance.

Methodology: This phenomenological research study identified and described the extent to which superintendents perceived the impact servant leadership has on establishing a culture of high performance. Eight participants were selected through non probability purposeful and convenience sampling based on specific criteria including a minimum of three years of experience at their current district and a minimum of five years of experience as a superintendent. The researcher conducted semi-structured interviews using an Interview Protocol. Responses from participants were prioritized and data was coded for themes.

Findings: The findings from the study indicate that public school district superintendents agree that Patterson’s (2003) seven servant leadership constructs contribute to establishing a culture of high performance. The in-depth interviews, observations, and artifacts collected resulted in 14 themes and seven major findings.

Conclusions: It was concluded that public school district superintendents who develop a culture of high performance have a collective commitment and belief to serve; hire people who are aligned to the shared values and purpose of the organization; operate out of love; have trusting relationships; empower people, and utilize all seven constructs.

Recommendations for Action: The ability of superintendents to utilize the seven servant leadership constructs of agapao, humility, altruism, vision, trust, empowerment, and service is critical to establishing a culture of high performance. To equip aspiring and current superintendents to effectively implement the constructs, the following needs to occur: an assessment tool needs to be developed for superintendents to measure their effectiveness utilizing the seven constructs; a professional development book needs to be written focused on successful implementation of the seven constructs; trainings for superintendents focused on the servant leadership constructs needs to be developed and included in conferences aspiring and current superintendents typically attend; coaching for superintendents needs to include the seven constructs; and search firms and boards of education need to use the seven servant leadership constructs when evaluating prospective superintendents.