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K-12 Dissertation Abstracts

The Educational Administration Department is pleased to present a compilation of Dissertation Abstracts from the HALE Ph.D. and K-12 Educational Administration Ph.D. programs.  These abstracts represent the rich and dynamic community of scholars in EAD.  The research presented reflects the wide range topics that emerge from a local as well as global perspective on postsecondary education and educational leadership.  In reviewing these abstracts we hope you will learn about the interesting research that goes on in the EAD doctoral programs.

K-12 Educational Administration

2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

Telly S. Brannon (2005)
Advisor: Dr. Christopher Dunbar

The academic and social impact of cultural intersection on African American male middle school students was investigated. Interviews with and observations of eight students as well eleven staff members were analyzed. The results indicated that an intersection between the dominant culture and the subordinate culture had a negative impact on the academic and social experiences of the students in this study. Recommendations include ongoing professional development and realigning of the curriculum.

Vincent J. Dean (2005)
Advisor: Dr. Christopher Dunbar

The experience of receiving special education services within a juvenile detention facility was investigated. Interviews conducted with six students and six staff members were analyzed along with record reviews and observations. The results indicated that while special education services look different in the detention facility visited, the experience was a positive one in regard to emphasis on education, developing relationships with adults, and meeting health and safety needs of students. Recommendations included developing stronger, more efficient means of communication and improving assessment practices.

Felix Simieou (2005)
Advisor: Dr. Christopher Dunbar

This study focused on the experiences of African‐American parent involvement in two Title I schools in an urban southeastern school district. It specifically sought to understand the role of parent involvement as practiced in two schools that have a majority economically disadvantaged population, predominately African‐American, where students have been successful in attendance, grades, and state standardized test. In addition, it attempted to understand if there is an impact of cultural attitudes and identify practices on the actions of African‐American parents and what factors influence their involvement in their children's education. It found three major themes that influenced involvement with African‐American families: (1) Strong, innovative leadership, (2) the impact of community associations, (3) adapting and creating programs that teach parents how to reinforce curriculum.

Elizabeth Murakami Ramalho (2005)
Advisor: Dr. Maenette Benham

School leaders face the unique tension of being the "public persona" involved in a multitude of relationships while, at the same time, performing with a strong feeling of isolation (Murphy, 1988; Scott, 2002). This may be related to a romantic perception (including perceptions of those who work in schools) of the role of administrators, with boards of education often selecting a Frank Boyden of Deerfield (McPhee, 1984) model of school leader---an idealist, a dedicated and altruistic hero---and placing all other school participants on the receiving end of leadership. To move away from hierarchical leadership perceptions, I explored leadership dynamics from alternative lenses. American international schools were selected as appealing ecological environments with a combination of committed educators, families, and community participation in highly multicultural populations.


"What kind of leadership dynamics may be found in American international schools?" and "How do educators in selected American international schools construct and mediate their leadership roles?" were the questions addressed in this study. Participants in three initiatives in three American international schools located in different countries contributed in the study. The findings suggested that leadership dynamics in American international schools is a process that is best viewed from an integrative perspective. An integrative perspective included the interplay of participants constructing their leadership roles through four fundamental layers: Leadership dynamics was then, (a) reliant on a propitious organizational ecosystem, (b) contingent on group interdependency, (c) associated with capacity building, and (d) fostering organizational learning. However, in the schools studied, the interplay of these fundamental layers seemed to be highly challenged, not only due to constant change and power relations, but also due to constrained human capital and time in order to create stable spaces and enduring traditions of excellence.