Date of Award

Summer 6-14-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Cindy Petersen

Second Advisor

Dr. Carol Anderson-Woo

Third Advisor

Dr. Linda De Long


Purpose. The purpose of this Delphi study was to identify and describe professional development topics required to prepare classified managers in California public school district business services departments as effective leaders as perceived by a panel of experts. This study also sought to identify the degree of importance of each professional development topic and the best strategies to address those topics as perceived by a panel of experts.

Methodology. A Delphi research design was used to identify and describe professional development strategies necessary to prepare classified managers in the business services division of California public school districts. The Delphi panel consisted of 22 experts in the field of classified professional development. The first round identified professional development topics, which were then ranked by importance in Round 2 along with generating strategies for delivery. In Round 3, the experts re-rated the topics as most important and identified the top three strategies for delivery of each of the seven topics. Findings. Research Questions 1 and 2 yielded seven major findings aligned with the seven most important professional development topics for classified business managers as perceived by a panel of experts. Research Question 3 yielded three major findings, which expounded on the delivery strategies for the successful delivery of professional development. Additionally, three unexpected findings were explored by the researcher.

Conclusions: Based on the research findings, four conclusions were drawn.

Recommendations: The results of this research led to the need for action to ensure classified employees receive the opportunity to grow and develop into leaders the public school system needs. The annual state budget should ensure sufficient funding and accountability for professional development. Secondly, county offices of education must provide structure and opportunities for training. Professional associations should partner to invest in emerging classified business services leaders utilizing the seven identified professional development topics. Lastly, the Women’s Leadership Network should use this research to help develop emerging women classified business services leaders.