Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Pitney, William A., 1965-

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


Education; Educational leadership; Elementary education


The increase of poverty in suburban communities since the year 2000 has fundamentally changed the work of elementary school principals in suburban schools. Using a qualitative method, 10 suburban elementary school principals from the Chicago metropolitan area were interviewed to gain a deeper understanding of their perceptions of working with suburban elementary school students from poverty. Principals revealed that they see poverty as having a deficit influence on suburban elementary students. They defined that they see the role of principal as helping students gain from the school experience by reducing the obstacles to learning that poverty presents and, therefore, providing access to education. Finally, in the context of working with suburban elementary school students from poverty, the principals described the elements of the school that are influenced by their leadership and the factors that have had an influence on their leadership. Confirming existing research, the findings reveal that relationships with students, parents and community are an essential component of the principal's work with suburban elementary school students from poverty. The findings suggest that by gaining a greater understanding of the principals' perceptions, professional practice can be impacted and thus increase the students' chances for success later in school and in life.


Advisors: William Pitney.||Committee members: Jeff Schuler; Elizabeth Wilkins.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


viii, 177 pages




Northern Illinois University

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