Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)
Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations
School superintendents--Illinois--Attitudes; Educational leadership--Illinois
Motivated by the lack of public confidence in education, the demand in education for openness and accountability, and the shortage of quality school superintendents, this research study examines the evidence of a servant leadership philosophy among superintendents in the state of Illinois recognized for their administrative excellence. The study was informed by the writings of Greenleaf, Sergiovanni, Wheatley, Depree, Barth, Block, Autry, Spears, Blanchard, and others. Superintendents were invited to participate based on their receipt of the Illinois Superintendent of the Year Award between 1991 and 2003. A phenomenological study of eight superintendents as servant leaders was completed through the use of personal interviews. Transcriptions of the interviews were examined and coded based on naturally emerging and strongly evidenced personal characteristics. Fifteen such characteristics emerged. The researcher grouped these characteristics within the areas of motivation, power orientation, personal qualities, and goals. The characteristics in the area of motivation were calling, love, commitment to growth, and conceptualization. The characteristics in the area of power were stewardship, persuasion, and shared power. The characteristics in the area of personal qualities were listening, empathy, awareness, foresight, and integrity. The characteristics in the area of goals were healing, building community, and serving. All of the participating superintendents evidenced at least one characteristic in each of the broad areas of motivation, power orientation, personal qualities, and goals. All of the participating superintendents evidenced the specific characteristics of calling, conceptualization, listening, and building community. Seven of the eight superintendents displayed the characteristics of stewardship, awareness, integrity, and serving. Six of the eight superintendents displayed commitment to growth, persuasion, shared power, foresight, and healing. Finally, five of the eight superintendents displayed empathy and three superintendents evidenced love. Based on the research results, servant leadership was determined to be a viable and an emerging leadership philosophy among eight recognized school superintendents in Illinois.
Walker, Laurel A., "Phenomenological profiles of selected Illinois public school superintendents as servant leaders" (2003). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 4367.
ix, 189 pages
Northern Illinois University
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