Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe how exemplary district-level special education administrators lead from the heart using Mark Crowley’s four 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 qualitative phenomenological study explored the lived experiences and specific ways in which district-level special education administrators implemented and used Crowley’s (2011) four principles of heart-led strategies to understand the specific experiences and actions of the district-level special education administrators in relation to Crowley’s leading from the heart framework. The researcher was part of a thematic team of 14 peer researchers and five faculty advisors who developed a semistructured interview protocol. Using a nonprobability sampling, nine participants were selected to be interviewed about their lived experiences.
Findings: The findings from the study indicate that district-level special education administrators incorporate Crowley’s (2011) four heart-led principles across all domains in order to accomplish extraordinary results. Semistructured interviews and artifacts revealed 12 themes, 614 references, 13 key findings, and six major findings.
Conclusions: The literature and findings yielded conclusions that described how district-level special education administrators implement Crowley’s four principles of leading from the heart to achieve extraordinary results. Three conclusions drawn are as follows: (a) creating a team with a heart for special education, (b) building and maintaining relationships through intentional presence, and (c) recognizing the work in the four principles is essential.
Recommendations: The researcher recommends that mentorship programs must be developed for implementation of heart-led strategies for special education administrators. To build a community of heart-led leaders, principles discussed in this study must be transitioned from district-level administrators to school-site leadership teams. School-site leadership teams have a significant role not only on students with disabilities but also on all students. Additionally, the findings in this study should be used to train school-site personnel on implementation of heart-led strategies across all settings.
Barnard, Aimee, "How Exemplary Special Education Administrators Lead From the Heart Using Mark Crowley’s Four 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 Schools" (2022). Dissertations. 427.
Disability and Equity in Education Commons, Educational Administration and Supervision Commons, Educational Leadership Commons, Special Education and Teaching Commons, Teacher Education and Professional Development Commons