Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe how charter school executive directors lead from the heart using Mark Crowley’s 4 heart-led principles (building a highly engaged team, connecting on a personal level, maximizing employee potential and valuing and honoring achievements) to accomplish extraordinary results in their organizations.
Methodology: This study followed a qualitative phenomenological research study to describe the lived experiences of exemplary charter school directors. A sample of 8 charter school executive directors was selected from the target population that included Fresno, Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties in Central and Southern California. Each of the 8 identified charter school executive directors was interviewed in a semistructured open-ended, one-to-one interview protocol developed by a group of peer researchers. Data from artifacts and observations were used to triangulate the research results. Transcripts were analyzed and synthesized for themes using NVivo coding software.
Findings: Examination of qualitative data from the participating 8 exemplary charter school executive directors in this study indicated various findings. Analysis of data resulted in 21 themes and 409 frequencies among Crowley’s 4 heart-led principles. From these 21 themes, 7 key findings emerged.
Conclusions: The study described the lived experiences that exemplary charter school executive directors do to lead their charter schools through Crowley’s 4 heart-led principles (building a highly engaged team, connecting on a personal level, maximizing employee potential, and valuing and honoring achievements). The researcher drew 4 conclusions for staff engagement by (a) communicating with staff members builds authentic relationships, (b) investing time connecting with staff members, (c) providing constant feedback and reflection time, (d) appreciating staff through various forms of communication.
Recommendations: Further research is recommended to study Crowley’s heart-led principles. It is also recommended that research be conducted to identify and describe the teachers’ perspectives on how their executive directors lead through the heart-led principles, using a mixed methods approach. This study should also be replicated in other roles, regions, and sectors in K-12 public, private, and charter schools.
Arzaga, Giovanna, "A Phenomenological Study of Exemplary Charter School Executive Directors Leading From the Heart" (2021). Dissertations. 416.