Date of Award

Spring 3-28-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Cindy Petersen

Second Advisor

Keith Larick

Third Advisor

Jody Graf


Purpose: The purpose of this exploratory phenomenological study was to identify and describe the strategies used by charter school executive directors to develop and maintain personal resiliency based on Everly, Strouse, and McCormack’s (2015) five factors of personal resilience (active optimism, decisive action, moral compass, relentless tenacity, and interpersonal support).

Methodology: This exploratory phenomenological study identified and described the lived experiences of exemplary charter school executive directors in San Diego, Riverside, and Orange counties. Based on recommendations from expert entities who worked with the target population, the researcher used purposeful sampling to select eight exemplary charter school executive directors. The researcher used an interview protocol developed by the thematic research team to collect qualitative data, which were transcribed, and participants were asked to review for accuracy. In addition, the researcher collected relevant artifacts for data triangulation. The researcher coded the data, identified emergent themes, and presented the data in frequency tables and with descriptive narrative.

Findings: Data analysis yielded seven findings related to resilience strategies for developing and maintaining active optimism, decisive action, moral compass, relentless tenacity, interpersonal support, and personal resilience.

Conclusions: The study supported seven conclusions from the findings. The strategies that exemplary charter school executive directors use to develop and maintain personal resiliency were (a) build trusting relationships; (b) expect and embrace challenge; (c) lead in alignment with one’s mission, values, and purpose; (d) have confidence that success will be achieved; (e) practice self-care and foster avenues of personal support; (f) relentlessly pursue goals and persevere; and (g) engage in regular self-reflection.

Recommendations: Further research is recommended to replicate this study with other target populations such as traditional district superintendents. Other studies are recommended for quantitative analysis on large charter school executive director populations, qualitative or mixed methods study on charter school executive director turnover and interpersonal support, and longitudinal studies on charter school executive director success with adversity.