Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Joseph C. Rost, PhD, Director; Mary Jo Abascal-Hildebrand, EdD; Kimiko Fukuda, PhD


case study, educational reform, Leadership studies, organizational structure, parents & parenting, Postindustrial theory of leadership, qualitative, restructuring movement, school administration, shared decision-making, teachers


Educational reform has a long history and schools have gone through cycles of change. This study, however, focuses on the last ten years of reform, often referred to as the restructuring movement. Shared decision making is one of the fundamental changes promoted by this current reform effort. Restructuring the decision-making process to include teachers and parents is a significant change from the hierarchical process that has been in place in most of today's schools. It is time to recognize that schools are complex social institutions that experience change only through its people. By giving those closest to children a stronger voice, decisions would have a greater impact on making the needed changes. This study explored one school that experienced significant change over the course of ten years. This research examines the changing roles of the principal, teachers, and parents as they participated in a shared decision-making process. The strong sense of community that evolved was the result of relationships that were built on trust and respect. The collective sense of responsibility that existed at Valencia Park Elementary School provided the opportunity for leaders and collaborators to practice Rost's postindustrial theory of leadership. A qualitative methodology was used in this study. The case study included interviews, observations, and a review of district and school documents. Through this methodology it was possible to discover how the strong sense of community evolved and how it brought about significant change. The findings of this study indicate that for significant change to occur as a result of shared decision making, a new organizational structure and belief system must be in place, the scope of authority must be clearly delineated, and the critical role the principal plays in facilitating the process must be understood. The shift from a top-down to a shared model of decision making requires the stakeholders to create relationships that foster a collective sense of responsibility. This strong sense of community provides the opportunity for leaders and collaborators to pursue changes that reflect their mutual purposes which relate to meeting the needs of children.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access