Date of Award

8-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Theresa Pulos

Abstract

The Boards of Education in New York State schools face formidable challenges in an educational environment characterized by accelerated and complex change. This contemporary context requires boards to function as high-performing teams to generate outcomes. Board members typically are well-intentioned yet unprepared for such challenges. This research study used a qualitative phenomenological design to examine the beliefs of school board presidents about how boards develop the capacity to work together to create results. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with school board presidents in Central New York. Interview questions were guided by the theoretical framework of team learning. The analysis revealed four major categories and conclusions: (a) school boards develop the capacity of their teams through acquisition and sharing of knowledge, balanced board composition, and board president leadership; (b) boards interact as a team through communication, adhering to governance structures, understanding of roles, and mutual respect; (c) boards are confronted with challenges to address including personal agendas, micromanagement, and time; and lastly, (d) school boards create results by establishing students as the highest priority and continually reflecting on performance. A group of individuals does not constitute a team; rather, successful teams (boards) perform as a unit and are accountable to a collective performance. The study recommends that boards be mindful of the beliefs of the board presidents captured in the research as they work together to create results that will benefit future generations of school children. Information gleaned from this study adds to the literature and understanding of school boards and informs school board learning and preparation.

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