Date of Award

2009

Access Restriction

Campus Access only dissertations

Degree Name

Doctorate in Education

Department

Education

School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Mary K. McCullough, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kristen R. Anguiano, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Teresa Mendoza, Ph.D.

Abstract

Catholic schools are important institutions in the United States educational system. They demand discipline, high academic standards, and religious moral values rooted in Catholic beliefs which are designed to have an impact throughout life (Ciriello, 1998). A critical component in determining school quality lies with the principals' leadership (Sergiovanni, 1997). Principals are critical to successful K-12 schools and must exercise considerable responsibility for establishing collegial learning cultures among the instructional team and stakeholders, including parents, community members, and students. The principal can no longer accomplish such a momentous task alone. Success of today's Catholic relies on the competent and committed performance of many people acting together with common goals.

Catholic schools do not mirror those of twenty years ago (Cummings, 2003). Within the past five years, principals in Catholic schools have increasing job responsibilities and expectations. With the implementation of the Los Angeles Archdiocesan Strategic Plan in 2003, Catholic school principals in the Archdiocese must fulfill their primary function as instructional leader, and the additional roles outlined by the plan. Declining enrollment, lack of funds, and a perceived lack of quality, has forced principals to market their school to increase enrollment and solicit substantial funds for the school to remain viable. New roles create a problem for principals lacking training or knowledge in specialized areas.

Based on a review of available literature, including (a) distributive leadership, (b) collaborative leadership, (c) shared leadership, and (d) school boards, this study investigated principal perceptions of collaboration and implementation of consultative school boards.

This study employed a mixed method research design including a survey, interviews, and a document review of the Los Angeles Archdiocesan Strategic Plan to answer research questions.

This study found a leader who needs collaborative leadership skills to lead a quality school involving all stakeholders to assist the school in remaining viable. Principals confirmed a need for greater participation by all stakeholders and assistance in forming consultative school boards. Information gathered contributes to the limited literature on Catholic school leadership, specifically a principals' role in implementing collaborative leadership in Catholic elementary schools through consultative school boards.

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