Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Sonya Douglass Horsford, Chair

Second Committee Member

Teresa Jordan

Third Committee Member

James Hager

Graduate Faculty Representative

Linda Quinn

Number of Pages



Research reflecting the preparation, experiences, and attitudes of effective school leaders of students with disabilities is scarce despite the fervent federal requirements changing special education over the past four decades. Although there is extensive literature on perspectives and contexts of disability, the legislative journey toward special education, inclusion and educational leadership, the expanding role of the principalship, principal attitudes on inclusion, and preparing educational leaders for inclusive education, a review of the related literature revealed an absence of the skill-set and disposition needed by school leaders who are improving academic achievement for students with disabilities.

This qualitative dissertation study documents and examines the preparation, experiences, and attitudes of two elementary school principals that have demonstrated success at improving student achievement among their special education population. The questions guiding this study are: (1) In what way does a school leader's leadership preparation program impact the education of students with disabilities? (2) In what way does a school leader's leadership experience impact the education of students with disabilities? (3) In what ways do a school leader's attitudes and perceptions impact the education of students with disabilities?

Using a qualitative research methodology and narrative inquiry research methods, this study aims to capture the lived experiences and perspectives of such leaders. In-depth interviews, field notes, site observations, and reflexive journaling were used to illustrate and examine the dispositions of the school leaders.

This study is important because it will provide insight to those concerned about what is essential to make an education for students with disabilities not only an accessible one, but a quality one. It will also guide educational leadership programs in developing curricula for future school leaders as they face the challenges of implementing state and federal policy. It also adds to the growing literature in the fields of educational leadership and special education.


Education; Effective leaders; Inclusionp; Law; Principal; Special education


Disability and Equity in Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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