Date of Award


Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Lauren Casella

Second Advisor

Kara Lemma

Third Advisor

Rebecca Stephenson


Catholic parochial elementary schools in the United states are normally governed by the pastor of the local parish and under a local-executive governance model. Despite pastors’ paramount role in the governance of Catholic parochial elementary schools they often lack the training, interest, or time to fulfill their roles. This qualitative study explored pastors’ perspectives on the local-executive governance model, where governance of the school is local and the pastor is the sole executive of the school. This dissertation included interviews with nine pastors in a diocese on the west coast of the United States. The study explored how pastors’ view their roles at their parochial schools. The pastors were asked about their views on their spiritual, education, and managerial roles at their parochial schools. Findings indicated that pastors enjoyed their spiritual roles at their schools but chose to delegate many of their financial, human, and academic responsibilities to the school principal. The findings supported the need for Catholic schools to explore other options in school governance beyond the local-executive governance model and to shift more authority from pastors to qualified laypersons.