Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Edward F. DeRoche, PhD; Fred J. Galloway, EdD; Judy Mantle, PhD; Wally Olsen, EdD


California, Leadership studies, mentoring, Psychosocial, Special education administrators


Mentoring powerfully develops human potential but little has been known about mentoring in special education administration. Because mentoring has a centuries-long record of success, because of the importance of special education administrators, and because of the paucity of empirical knowledge on mentoring in special education administration, this study examines mentoring in the special education administration community. The population for the study was approximately 1,465 practicing special education administrators in the state of California identified by the Center of Personnel Studies in Special Education (COPSSE). Electronic mail was used to introduce the on-line survey, Mentoring for Special Education Administrators. The instrument was a 19-item questionnaire designed specifically to address the research questions of the study. There were 158 who responded to the survey, out of which 142 surveys were used for analysis. Findings were described as frequencies, percentages, means, and standard deviations, as appropriate. To determine statistically significant differences between groups, ANOVA, including repeated-measures, and Chi-Square were used at a statistical significance threshold of p < .05. A post-hoc Tukey's least squared was used to localize for differences. Findings from this study indicate mentoring is flourishing within the special education community. About three-quarters of special education administrators are providing mentoring to non-administrative special education professionals, and about half are mentoring other special education administrators. There were no statistically significant differences in the rates of mentoring between males and females, and, no significant difference between mentoring and earlier acquisition of a special education administrative position. Special education administrators who have been mentored since entering special education administration were much more likely to mentor others. Psychosocial support was rated higher by those mentored than career development, but both functions were rated above average by respondents. Sharing one's skills, professional obligation, and seeing someone succeed were found to be significant as encouragers to mentoring. On average, respondents disagreed with the impediments as deterrents to mentoring. Recommendations include more professional development activities inclusive of special education administrators, allowing individuals to make smoother, and more successful career transitions, without the isolation and lack of training that currently plagues the field of special education.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access