Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Van E. Cooley

Second Advisor

Dr. Jianping Shen

Third Advisor

Dr. William Blokker


The purpose of this study was to test a transformational, systemic change framework designed by the researcher to assist school leaders who are attempting to incorporate the major elements of transformational leadership theory, systems theory, and organizational development theory into their school or school district operations. The study involved both the distillation and organization of the major theoretical elements from the literature into an operational framework for planning, conducting, and monitoring the systemic change process in K-12 school systems. This framework was, then, tested by the researcher for its descriptive power in a case study analysis of an actual school district change process over a number of years. The study used ethnographic approaches to analyze the district document and artifact record against the operational framework. Two types of analysis were used to examine the utility of the framework in describing and tracking an eighteen-year change process in the case study subject K-12 school district. The first was an ethnographic content analysis which was used to extract both qualitative and quantitative data from documents derived from the subject district’s archival record generated by change activity. The second was an event structure analysis, which provided for tracking the change related events chronologically and grouping the catalogued events by time periods. The results from the archival record analysis were triangulated by collecting data from participating professional staff in the case study subject school district. For this purpose, the researcher developed a survey of descriptors aligning with each of the operational elements of the framework and administered it to professional staff (teachers and administrators) currently working in the case study district. The researcher analyzed the data collected from the survey responses and the document/artifact analysis to assess the power of the operational framework and descriptors to track the actual change process in the case study school district and describe its current status with regard to the incorporation of transformational, systemic change elements into operational norms.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access