Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Teresa Jordan

Second Committee Member

Jim Hager

Third Committee Member

James Crawford

Fourth Committee Member

Linda Quinn

Number of Pages



This study implemented an exploratory mixed-methods design to better understand how the characteristics of a principal, specifically the strategies, behaviors, and actions, lead to the perception of empowerment as perceived by the teachers themselves.

An expert panel identified three highly successful principals assigned to elementary schools within a large urban district. Each was the principal of the school for a minimum of 4 years that utilized and sustained a shared-governance structure. Site observations at the schools, as evidenced by principal supervisors, indicated a successful governance structure, strong educational focus, and a sustained data-driven design for school improvement.

The teachers at each of the highly successful principals' schools were surveyed for both qualitative and quantitative data from two survey instruments. Teachers responded to open-ended questions designed to identify specific characteristics of the principals' that contributed to their sense of empowerment. Teachers also responded to statements to explore the overall schools' governance in the areas of: decision-making, professional growth, status, self-efficacy, autonomy, and impact. Both instruments were compared across schools to determine emergent themes of characteristics and overall empowerment among the schools.

Embedded in reform initiatives is the concept of teacher empowerment as a means to increase the effectiveness of a school as an organization. If sustaining shared governance models and ensuring teachers are an integral part of the solutions to school reform, then determining what actions successful principals engage in, and how those actions influence a teacher's sense of empowerment would be valuable information for practicing school administrators. What are the characteristics of successful principals that lead to the perception of teacher empowerment?

By looking at schools in a large urban school district, this study provides insight into how teachers perceive `empowerment' and their contributions to the school in the areas of decision-making, professional growth, status, self-efficacy, autonomy, and impact. It also identifies specific characteristics, strategies, and practices of principals that contribute to teachers' sense of empowerment.

The study revealed principals' characteristics, strategies, and behaviors significantly affected teachers' feelings, thinking, and behaviors and their perceptions of empowerment across six dimensions of empowerment: Decision Making, Professional Growth, Status, Self-Efficacy, Autonomy, and Impact (Short, 1991).


Educational leadership; Effective leadership; Employee empowerment; Leadership styles; School leadership; School management and organization; School principals; Successful principals; Teacher empowerment; Teacher-principal relationships; Teachers


Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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