Date of Graduation

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College/School

School of Education

Department/Program

Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dan McPherson

Second Advisor

James Everitt

Third Advisor

Doreen Jones

Abstract

The Network of Sacred Heart Schools advances its education mission through a pivotal document entitled Goals and Criteria for Sacred Heart Schools in the United States (Society of the Sacred Heart, U.S. Province, 2005). The heads of school are the leaders and key decision makers who ensure that their leadership meets the expectations articulated in the five goals and criteria and that other personnel within their schools demonstrate an understanding of these pivotal guidelines in the process of their daily work. No research exists to date regarding the extent to which the heads of school apply the five goals and criteria during decisions critical to the school mission, and no empirical evidence regarding the manner in which these leaders render their decisions has been advanced. Consequently, this current study explored the extent to which heads of school within the Network of Sacred Heart Schools engage with the overarching goals and criteria when rendering decisions and whether they implement a consistent process for decision making.

This study applied qualitative research methodology. After inviting 21 heads of school within the Network of Sacred Heart Schools to participate, four agreed to volunteer for the study. Two semistructured, one-hour interviews were conducted with each participant, the first in person and the second by telephone. The data collected from these interviews suggest that these leaders apply the five goals and criteria to all aspects of their leadership including decision making. They were not applied in any predetermined systematic manner throughout the process of making decisions, although each Head was able to identify a general system or process implemented. The findings of this study suggest that the Heads of Sacred Heart schools place appropriately high value on the five goals and criteria mandated by the Network mission because they permeate all aspects of their leadership including decision making. It was also noted that these leaders may benefit from an introduction to the current research, as it relates to methods of decision making, in order to ensure that they are aware of optimal methods.

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