Date of Award

Winter 1-5-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Will Rumbaugh, EdD

Second Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Sauers, PhD

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Hendrick, PhD


This study examined the perceptions of rural principals and faculty members about the principals’ use of transformational leadership practices to lead school improvement efforts. Based on Transformational Leadership Theory and the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders, the study explored how school leaders and faculty view the principals’ leadership as they tackle improving their rural schools. By examining the perceptions of the school leader and their staff members, key attributes that may lead to improvements in rural schools where limited human and fiscal resources are available have been identified. This qualitative study analyzed data collected through interviews with eight leaders and staff and publicly available school improvement plans and other documents to identify themes and patterns. The findings suggest that when principals used transformational leadership practices to convey their vision, the scope of their influence widened. In doing so, the principals built trust, inspired their teacher-leaders, and created a collaboration that allowed both groups to work together to improve schools.


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