Date of Award

Spring 4-13-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Cindy Petersen

Second Advisor

Dr. Keith Larick

Third Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Greenberg


Purpose: The purpose of this explanatory mixed-method study was to identify and describe the leadership strategies unified school district superintendents used to create an organizational culture of inclusiveness through the lens of Kennedy’s five distinctive qualities of leadership.

Methodology: This mixed-methods study identified strategies exemplary public school superintendents used to create an organizational culture of inclusiveness. The study collected quantitative data from 17 superintendents via a survey and qualitative data from six of those superintendents via one-on-one interviews. Respondents were purposely chosen for their esteemed service in the field of education and based on specific criteria, including a recommendation from the County Office Superintendents of Schools.

Findings: Examination of the data revealed eight major findings. Superintendents saw others in the organization by valuing perspectives, diversity, and stories. They were intentionally curious about those they served by listening and learning, and involved others through shared leadership. Additionally, the superintendents demonstrated and modeled empathy and cared for individuals on the team. They fostered a sense of ownership and belonging across the organization, and ensured expectations, structures, and systems aligned to inclusiveness. Superintendents also sought expertise and provided professional learning to their staff. The final finding revealed exemplary superintendents exhibited authentic leadership vulnerability.

Conclusions: Based on and supported by this study’s findings and connected to the research, seven conclusions were revealed to strengthen the understanding of strategies used by superintendents to create a culture of inclusiveness in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.

Recommendations: Further research was recommended to expand and deepen the knowledge and description of strategies used by leaders to create a culture of inclusiveness, including exploring the perspectives of superintendents from elementary and secondary districts and from other geographical regions.