Date of Award


Access Restriction

Campus Access only Dissertations

Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Shane P. Martin

Second Advisor

Frana Dell'Olio

Third Advisor

Refugio Rodriquez


After a review of K12-University partnership models, research into the current local and national education reform context, and an in-depth analysis of contextual factors in the launching of an initiative, the author proposed a program design for K12-University partnerships that included five essential components necessary for successful implementation. These components, also termed leverage points, were: clarity of the problem, outcome planning, a theory of change, clear stakeholder enrollment and commitment, and flexibility.

Actively acknowledging and factoring in the fluid nature of public education initiatives, the author framed this program design within that of the emergence principle of complexity theory, which drove the rationale for flexibility in the model. The study then turned to a deep review of the successes and lessons learned from a K12/University partnership that was launched without the benefit of this program design. Finally, the study analyzed this specific K12/University partnership through the lens of the five essential components and made recommendations about the efficacy of this specific model.

In the current national climate of declining resources and the need for more effective and innovative partnerships in the K12 and University settings, this program design offered a roadmap for local partnerships throughout the country to positively impact the student success.