Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Educational Administration


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Causey-Konate, Tammie

Second Advisor

Paradise, Louis V.

Third Advisor

Welch, Brett


School systems nationwide confront declines in the number of principal applicants while facing increasing student accountability concerns. The idiosyncrasies of adolescent development and the social nature of the educational environment reflect the declines in applicants and impact student accountability. Using a three-tiered case study, the present research inquiry identified perspectives of superintendents, middle school principals, and middle school teachers regarding Baldrige-based practices in the four Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award-winning school districts in the United States. This study's data illuminated how a non-prescriptive framework such as the Baldrige National Quality Program (BNQP) combined with Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence (BECPE) assessment instrument, were utilized by the superintendents and middle school principals in the award-winning schools to address the issues of both instructional leadership and student achievement. Perspectives from targeted superintendents, middle school (grades 6-8) principals, and middle school teachers regarding Baldrige-based practices as they relate to instructional leadership in middle level education were investigated. Research participants from Chugach School District in Anchorage, Alaska; Pearl River School District in Pearl River, New York; Community Consolidated School District 15 in Palatine, Illinois; and Jenks Public Schools in Jenks, Oklahoma discussed the adoption, implementation, and maintenance of the Baldrige National Quality Program, combined with the ongoing utilization of BECPE, in their middle schools. Respondents disclosed instructional leadership beliefs and practices utilized within their school and/or district. Utilizing information from the three interview protocols created for superintendents, middle school principals, and middle school teachers in the targeted districts, an analysis of themes emerged from the transcribed interviews and interview correspondences, providing insight about the gaps in research literature pertaining to the application of Baldrige-based practices in middle level education. These gaps substantiated the need for continued research that examines the role of instructional leadership in creating Baldrige environments in the middle school arena. Overall, the qualitative results of this exploratory study promoted understanding and informed efforts to build instructional leadership in other middle level educational institutions across the nation.


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