Leadership Dissertations

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    Teacher Perceptions of STEM Curriculum Integration and Application: A Qualitative Study
    ( 2022-02) Ruggiero, Angelo
    Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education reforms have steadily increased since the 1980s. Legislators, education policymakers, and corporate leaders have shifted the focus to demand the production of increased numbers of STEM-literate graduates. The problem is a lack of consensus on the definition of STEM education, which contributes to the absence of an integrated and consistent STEM curriculum in U.S. public schools. A gap exists in literature regarding the perceptions of teachers and administrators related to STEM education in Georgia public schools. The study explored teacher perceptions of STEM education and a cohesive integrated curriculum. Constructivist learning theory and social cognitive learning theory provided the theoretical framework for the study. Key research questions explored administrator and teacher perceptions regarding uniform STEM curriculum as well as perceived obstacles to implementing STEM curriculum changes in Georgia public schools. Through a basic qualitative methodology, 16 teacher participants and three administrator participants were surveyed. All participants were current teachers or administrators at a STEM-certified and top-ranked Georgia high school. Questionnaire responses and document analysis results were coded using an inductive thematic analysis framework. Results indicated teachers and administrators held a predominantly positive view of STEM education, yet attempts to define and conceptualize STEM were basic and incongruous. Teachers also indicated a need for additional professional development to improve feelings of efficacy implementing STEM initiatives.
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    A Causal-comparative Study of Teacher Self-efficacy in Virtual Charter Schools
    ( 2022-02) Alverson, Lori
    Teacher self-efficacy is the belief in the ability to impact students’ success. There is limited research about teachers’ self-efficacy levels in the virtual K–12 environment. Self-efficacy may play a key role in job satisfaction, teacher retention, and higher student achievement. Research literature focused on teaching preparation programs and faculty in higher education but was minimal for the K–12 context. This quantitative study aimed to increase the scope in the literature to K–12 virtual charter schools and determined if there were any significant statistical differences in teacher self-efficacy and attitudes towards science, technology, engineering, and math in the online setting. The theoretical foundation was the intersection of self-efficacy theory and servant leadership. The research questions determined if there were a statistically significant difference between teacher self-efficacy and attitudes towards STEM when compared across the subject matter of elementary, science, technology, engineering, and math, along with the comparison of virtual teaching experience. The causal–comparative design used purposive and snowball sampling methods. The 104 K–12 virtual teacher participants used the Teacher Efficacy and Attitudes Toward STEM Survey. Data was collected through Survey Monkey and then run through statistical analysis with SPSS software. The study results showed significant statistical differences in mean composite scores on the T-STEM survey across subject matter and years of virtual teaching experience groups. There was no statistical interaction between subject areas and years of virtual teaching experience. Leaders may survey the needs of their staff to determine their online teaching proficiency and provide support for gaps in proficiencies.
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    Beginning Teacher Perceptions of District-Based Induction Coaching: A Phenomenology
    ( 2022-12-19) Sire-Derrick, Frances
    A shortage of highly qualified teachers across the nation has prompted school districts to relax certification standards to fill vacant positions. The problem is the growing number of teachers being placed in the skills needed to positively impact student achievement. Gaps in the literature show not much is known about the precise and repeatable actions of district-based induction coaches directly impacting beginning teacher practice. Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory and Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Theory provide a framework for understanding beginning teacher knowledge and skill acquisition and coaching leadership stances. The research questions guiding the study ask: What are the lived experiences of beginning teachers who participated in district-based induction coaching; What impact, if any, do beginning teachers believe district-based induction coaches had on their instructional practice, and what are beginning teacher opinions about ways to improve district-based coaching techniques. The qualitative, phenomenological study involved twenty beginning teacher participants with under five years’ experience. Two (2) semi-structured, in-depth interviews were used as instruments to collect data. Transcripts were analyzed, categorized, and coded into themes that evolved into study findings. The results of the study reveal influential practices of district-based induction coaches. Suggestions for improving district coaching practices and overcoming challenges are discussed. Recommendations for further research are presented. Keywords: beginning teacher, district-based induction, instructional practice, coach credentialing, coaching certification
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    A Phenomenological Qualitative Study of Flood Disasters Experienced by Louisiana School Communities
    (Shane J. Milazzo, 2021-12) Milazzo, Shane
    Floods impact millions of people annually. Flood-related disasters in Louisiana from 2005-2020 resulted in losses of life, property, and normalcy. The problem is school communities in Louisiana are often unprepared for flood disasters since maintaining daily academic rigor and operational status are the priorities for resource and time allocation. There was a gap in the literature addressing how to dedicate time and resources to prepare for, and recover from, flood disasters in Louisiana public and private K4-12 schools. Twenty administrators and teachers of the K4-12 school communities impacted in Louisiana by flood disasters from 2005 to 2020 comprised the sample population. Virtual interviews were conducted; inductive themes were generated using NVivo 12. The theoretical frameworks were adaptive leadership and functional theory. The research questions allowed exploration of teacher and school leaders’ experiences and shared meanings regarding resource allocation and recovery efforts in Louisiana school communities. Recommendations included (a) proactive emotional trauma training, (b) creating partnerships with other schools located reasonable distances away for campus use post-flood, (c) using technology within the classroom daily, (d) use of cloud-based technology for records and communication, (d) maintaining appropriate savings and insurance policies, and (e) having community partnerships. Leadership implications included positive organic change and considerations for policy changes.
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    Phenomenology of Social Justice on Leadership Development of Marginalized College Students
    ( 2021-06) McFarlane-Beau, Jordan
    Although the body of research on social justice in educational or service-related contexts is growing, knowledge regarding the phenomenology of social justice impact on college student leadership development remains limited. The purpose of the qualitative phenomenological study was to describe and understand the lived experiences, context, and perceived impact of how social justice leadership, advocacy, and work influence the leadership development of marginalized college student leaders. The research questions focused on understanding the influence and impact of social justice on leadership development of marginalized college students. A combination of social justice leadership theory and college student development theories was the theoretical framework used to guide the study. Sixteen participants were involved in the study, responding to open-ended questionnaires, submitting documents listing leadership and social justice work, and participating in semistructured interviews, to provide information on the lived experiences of marginalized college student leaders. After downloading the questionnaire results, renaming the submitted documents, and recording and transcribing the interviews, inductive thematic, constant comparison, and classical content analyses were used to identify the following themes: advocacy, Black, community, learning, mentorship, and organizing. The results of the study highlighted the unique lived experiences and perceptions with social justice leadership as academic, personal, and student leadership-related, and caused changes in leadership behavior and/or leadership perspectives described as highly meaningful and valuable. Stakeholders can use the results of the study to improve college student leadership development using social justice leadership.