Date of Award

Spring 5-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Lisbeth Johnson, EdD

Second Advisor

Barbara Bartels, EdD

Third Advisor

Rebecca Pianta, EdD


Purpose: This Delphi study aimed to identify essential qualities school counselor leaders need to navigate role confusion, drawing from Maxwell’s (2021) Leading in Tough Times strategies. The Delphi panel identified the following strategies: connecting their roles to the organization’s vision or big picture, promoting their roles through organizational teamwork, and making good choices or strategic organizational decisions which would assist them in meeting and exceeding their professional school counseling standards.

Methodology: A mixed methods Delphi multivariable research design was utilized to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. This approach aimed to gather consensus from 20 current or former school counselors on a Delphi panel. The study was comprised of three rounds of surveys: the first qualitative, the second quantitative, and the third qualitative.

Findings: Study results highlighted communication as crucial for clarifying roles and aligning with the organization’s vision. Advocacy emerged as vital for role clarification and vision alignment. Trustworthiness was identified as essential for promoting the counselor’s role through teamwork. Collaboration and teamwork were underscored for connecting roles to the organizational vision and making strategic decisions. Lastly, purpose and clarity were emphasized for aligning the school counseling role with the organizational vision.

Conclusions: Panelist insights underscore the resilience and optimism of school counselors amid challenges, prioritizing communication, teamwork, and role clarity. Despite adversities, counselors persevere in fostering student growth. School counselor leaders are effective when they encourage trust and collaboration. Cultivating this spirit, counselors ensure comprehensive support for their primary role, enriching the educational journey for all students.

Recommendations: School site administrators must actively pursue professional development to grasp the pivotal role of school counselors. Additionally, counselors should maintain involvement in state and national organizations to glean insights for optimal performance. Demonstrating resilience, counselors navigate adversity through collaboration with site, district, and stakeholder networks. This proactive approach ensures continual improvement and effective delivery of essential services within the educational ecosystem.