Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Leonard Burrello


Authenticity, Change, Political Skill, Transformational, Transformative


District and school leadership are essential to the success of our students and our schools. While extensive conceptual literature describes leadership characteristics, there are few empirical studies that address the daily reality of schools. In addition, additional research is needed describing how principals maneuver within the context of schools and school districts. This phenomenological study explored how one elementary school principal understands and enacts leadership and to what extent she employs intentional strategies to facilitate change. The purpose of the study was to offer a rich profile of one elementary school principal's practice to understand how a principal constructs meaning, deploys action, and employs strategies to affect change. The results reveal this principal uses vision, the intentional strategies of expectations, modeling, decision-making processes, reflection, authentic conversations, and stories to facilitate change within her school. In addition, she maintains a human resource focus establishing relationships and building capacity in others as leadership strategies. The principal did not employ the same intention or strategies in relationship to the district or community, however. Results further indicated the district is also acting as a barrier to the implementation of leadership for change. Results of this study have implications for practitioners and future research. Practitioners can employ similar strategies as well as gaining awareness of the importance employing intention and political skill with the district. The results also highlight the need for additional leadership research as well as research investigating the role of the district in support of schools.