Date of Award

8-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Jeffrey Wallis

Second Supervisor

Frances Wills

Abstract

School officials are responsible for preparing schools to meet students’ needs while facing the complex security challenges of the 21st century. In the event of a disaster, school officials, despite not being emergency management professionals, must make appropriate decisions and lead effectively in order to maintain safety and ensure educational continuity at their schools. The actions of school officials before, during, and after a disaster will likely play a key role in the safe and effective delivery of education in the future. This study was a comparative analysis of school officials in the New York City Metropolitan Region. The study examined school officials' emergency management decision-making skills and perspectives on collaboration with outside agencies and emergency management training. Conducting applied research within a school during an actual disaster would be highly unlikely. However, simulating crises in a laboratory is one method to test school officials’ emergency management decision-making skills. During this study, school officials took part in a quasi-experiment designed to assess their emergency management decision-making skills. Data was also collected by conducting semi-structured interviews of ten school officials. Data was analyzed using pattern matching, logic model, and holistic data analysis. Fifteen major findings resulted from this study, creating an excellent foundation for future researchers to build upon with respect to school officials’ emergency management decision-making skills, training, and perspectives on collaboration with outside agencies.

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