Date of Award

Spring 4-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Doug Devore

Second Advisor

Lisbeth Johnson

Third Advisor

Cynthia Smith-Ough


Purpose. The purpose of this mixed method case study was to identify and describe how high school principals establish trust with teachers using the five domains of connection, concern, candor, competence, and consistency (TVI, 2010). In addition, it was the purpose of this study to determine the high school principals’ perceived degree of importance of the five domains for building trust.

Methodology. This mixed methods research design used quantitative and qualitative data to analyze the research questions related to trust between high school principals and their staff. The study combined surveys and in-person interviews. The quantitative data were gathered via a 10-question online Likert scale survey. The results of the quantitative survey guided qualitative data gathering. The population for this study included high school principals in San Diego County.

Findings. The qualitative findings of this study suggest that high school principals utilize trust-building strategies from all five trust domains, with connection receiving more than one third of the responses. Concern was second with 22% of all responses. The quantitative results showed candor as most important followed by connection, with all five domains very close in overall ratings.

Conclusions. The conclusions are trust is not hierarchical or sequential, leaders must demonstrate competence in responsibilities to be trusted, word and deed must be consistent, staff needs to feel the concern and care of leaders, candor and honesty must characterize communication with staff, and leaders must build and support personal connections with staff.

Recommendations for Action: Universities should incorporate the findings of this research on the five domains of trust into their programs for aspiring principals. Further, more emphasis needs to be placed on trust building strategies in credential courses. A self-assessment instrument should be developed for principals and aspiring principals to help them determine their level of proficiency in using strategies in the five domains. School districts should provide coaching for principals in small peer groups to help them examine their strengths and needs and to expand their trust strategies