Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Robert L. Infantino, EdD; Mary Abascal-HIidebrand EdD; Al Merino EdD


Alberta (Canada), children & youth, decision-making, education, Leadership studies, parents & parenting, principals, school administration, teachers


The role of the principal has been changing in relation to the increasing parent involvement in decision making and the educational restructuring in Alberta, Canada. The purpose of this study is to describe and examine a selected principal in her role in a school, during the 1994-1995 year, where parents from the school council and staff from the school share some of the decision making. The school chosen for this study had the principal working collaboratively with the parents and staff. A case study methodology is used to describe and examine interviews with the parents, teachers, superintendent's designate and the principal; on-site observations; and school and district documents. This study uses Rost's (1993) definition of leadership, "an influence relationship among leaders and collaborators who intend real changes that reflect the purposes mutually held by both leaders and collaborators," to examine the leadership role of the principal. Moreover, this study also uses the development of a moral community as described by Starratt (1996) to examine this school community. The findings provide a description of the leadership role of the principal, how the principal accommodates parent and staff input, decision-making and the changes brought about by the principal and the school council in the areas of policy, program and budget as specified in the Alberta Education (1994) Roles and Responsibilities document. There is agreement found among the participants that the principal should practice leadership with parents, be a communicator with parents, and be a liaison between the school and the community. Further, there is support from some of the participants that the principal must be a mediator between parents and teachers, nurturing of students, parents and teachers, and accountable for all school activities, student results and parent or community expectations. Issues surrounding increasing parent involvement in decision making are described. These include, hidden agendas, maintenance of confidentiality, varying expectations by parents and teachers, managing behavior disordered students, and parents wanting input on teacher evaluation. Decision-making processes are discussed, including, autocratic, democratic, collaborative and consensus decision-making and these are compared with the differing levels of decisions made according to this study. Implications of the study include the need for parents, teachers and the principal to have an opportunity to receive support and training in collaborative decision-making. Principals, in conjunction with Alberta Education and the Alberta Teacher's Association, must work together in the development of supports through training and networking for principals - personally, professionally and technologically.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access