Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Edith Rusch, Chair

Second Committee Member

Teresa Jordan

Third Committee Member

Robert McCord

Fourth Committee Member

Anthony Normore

Graduate Faculty Representative

Porter Troutman

Number of Pages



Children in high poverty schools often receive inadequate services in dilapidated facilities while enduring inexperienced and unprepared educators (Darling-Hammond, 2004). Communities with a dense impoverished population in turn create school wide poverty, which is ultimately more detrimental than individual family poverty (Books, 2004). With most teachers leaving impoverished urban schools within the first five years, it is no surprise of the difficulty to retain qualified and professional school leaders. As suggested by Haberman (2005), attracting educators with specific qualities to fill these critical roles may be the best route to lasting success. Equally important is the possibility to transform existing principals serving these communities into resilient leaders whom generations of students may admire and find success. Addressing educator resiliency has positive returns on retention, school culture, and professional satisfaction (Milstein & Henry, 2000).

The purpose of this study was to examine the characteristics and traits of school leaders who successfully navigate high poverty communities and make a true commitment to change the educational experience of children. Specifically, this study focused on the resiliency characteristics of these principals. The intent of the research was to locate critical information that leads to new understandings about preparing school leaders who can successfully lead high poverty schools. Informed by critical theory, this multiple case study included three public school principals, one elementary and two secondary, in high poverty communities found in a large urban center in a western state. School leader resiliency served as the analytical framework for the study. The researcher reviewed the data for External and Internal Resiliency Factors as well as Core Values, which formed the social justice lens of the leaders.


Education; Educational leadership; High-poverty; High poverty schools; Low-income students; Principal; Resilience (Personality trait); Resiliency; School principals; Social justice; Urban schools; Teachers


Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Psychology | School Psychology | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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