Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Educational Administration


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Beabout, Brian

Second Advisor

Broadhurst, Christopher

Third Advisor

Keane-Jeffers, Elizabeth


Leadership at the district level is a contributing factor to student achievement and the overall success of individual schools and school districts. However, with respect to leading equity-oriented transformations, most research has centered on the work of leaders and administrators at the school-building level. Considering their direct involvement in formulating and executing equity-framed change initiatives, understanding the role and influence of central office-based leaders is paramount. Designed as an instrumental case study, the process of executing a court-ordered desegregation plan was utilized to assist in deepening the understanding of the role of school district-based leadership as it relates to developing and implementing policies that seek to decrease and/or eliminate vestiges of racial and social injustices as well as evoke system-wide transformations. This case study was framed by a broad scope of scholarly work on change leadership and transformative practices. A collection of semi-structured interviews, guided by Seidman’s (2006) three-interview series structure, served as the primary source of data. With respect to district-level leadership, the data gathered from this study identifies conditions, structures, and behaviors that support and hinder equity-driven change and inclusive practices within schooling. Moreover, the findings indicate a need to focus on building capacity for equity-oriented transformations at the central office, managing multi-dimensional resistance within a social justice context, and empowering community groups to support and/or drive systemic change efforts within the educational setting. Additionally, recommendations aimed to extend and focus areas of practice, policy, and future research are presented.


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