Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Teaching, Learning, and Leadership


Though adolescent leadership is worth developing, often it is not addressed effectively in the general middle school curriculum. This study addresses adolescent leadership by describing and discussing eight major leadership categories and 38 subcategories found in seventeen representative Newbery Award-winning books. The sample was chosen using a multiple-step process and contained fictional stories with adolescent protagonists in realistic situations. Content analysis was used to quantify and analyze the leadership themes; a code book was used to organize data. Occurrence of each sub-category was ranked for prevalence within each book. These rankings form the basis for the analysis of findings which includes dominant and recessive trends within the categories and sub-categories as well as historical and gender trends within subcategories. Some findings include: (a) an emphasis on the moral, personality, ambiguity, and subjective leadership perspectives; (b) sub-categories that were represented by all but one protagonist; (c) an emphasis early the sample on other personality traits than those listed in the code book; (d) frequent displays of expertise only late in the sample. Also, some significant differences between genders exist in some sub-categories; example, females are less likely to be portrayed as leaders because of their physical characteristics while males are less likely than females to value followers' personal growth. In addition, other findings, including apprentices and orphans as sub-groups, the role of peers in protagonists' lives, the role model as nurturer of adolescent leadership, and leadership perspective variations between genders are described and discussed. These findings are used to analyze the hidden curriculum of work, parenting, friendship, individualism, and role modeling, and, in the larger context of the study as a whole, the hidden curriculum of adolescent leadership according to gender, cultural transformation, universality, and mentoring as implicit in the sample. Finally, a description of adolescent leadership emerges from the data: The adolescent leader is emotionally connected and relies on peers and role models ass/he willingly shares responsibility in a selfless way, ass/he discovers solutions to confusing leadership situations, and as s/he feels both interested and uncertain about the leadership situation.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access