Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe how exemplary K-12 school district superintendents 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 study utilized a qualitative phenomenological inquiry methodology to study the behaviors of eight exemplary K-12 school district superintendents in Southern California. Open-ended semistructured interviews were conducted utilizing a virtual platform. Responses from interviews in conjunction with observations and appropriate artifacts including, meeting agendas, memos, and newsletters provided information about the behaviors and lived experiences of hear-led leaders. The data collected was analyzed and organized into themes by NVivo software. The emerging themes identified patterns of behavior exemplary superintendents exhibited in leading their district.
Findings: Data analysis from virtual interviews, observations, and artifacts resulted in 18 themes, 14 key findings, and 1,459 frequencies for the four principles of heart-led leadership.
Conclusions: The framework of heart-led leadership (Crowley, 2011) was utilized to describe the behaviors K-12 exemplary school district superintendents exhibit to lead their organizations. The analysis of data resulted in 4 conclusions. Superintendents who exhibit leadership from the heart (a) spend time to hire the right people, (b) connect on a personal level to establish strong relationships, (c) create success for all members by maximizing employee potential, and (d) foster a culture of gratitude by valuing and honoring achievements.
Recommendations: Post pandemic replication of the study is recommended when in person interviews can be facilitated. It is also recommended that a mixed-method study gathering and comparing qualitative and quantitative data to draw conclusions on heart-led behaviors of school district superintendents. Understanding the differences in leadership styles of male and female superintendents, further research is recommended to study gender differences in heart-led leadership principles. Moreover, because of the significance of mentoring relationships, it is recommended that a study is conducted to examine the differences in lived experiences between school districts superintendents who have mentors vs. those who don’t.
Yeoh, Sepideh, "Heart-Led Behaviors of Exemplary Unified School District Superintendents" (2022). Dissertations. 436.
Educational Administration and Supervision Commons, Educational Leadership Commons, Leadership Studies Commons, Organization Development Commons, Other Teacher Education and Professional Development Commons