Date of Award

Spring 5-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Karen Burke, CSJ, EdD

Second Advisor

Lois Favre, EdD

Third Advisor

Jacquelyn Taylor, EdD

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between leadership characteristics and school climate. Through the online administration of two instruments, The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) and The School-Level Environment Questionnaire (SLEQ), teacher and principal perceptions of leadership characteristics in five categories and school climate in eight categories, were collected and analyzed. The SLEQ included two forms, actual environment and preferred environment.

Leadership skills, characteristics, and styles define the leader in a school building. The role of the school leader has become more complex, and expectations for leaders to create environments that support students, provide continuous learning for teachers, foster innovation, and meet achievement goals has become standard practice. School climate encompasses all of these expectations. Although the research on leadership and its characteristics is extensive, this study examined the research in the context of the needs of schools’ today, identified how leadership influences school climate, and predicted the discrete leadership characteristics that support the growth of positive school climate.

The two-group multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted on the leadership characteristics as dependent variables. Findings determined that there is no significant difference between teachers’ (N = 324) and principals’ (N = 21) perceptions of leadership characteristics. A MANOVA was also conducted to establish significance between teachers’ perceptions of their actual school climate and their preferred school climate. Results indicated there is a significant difference in teachers’ perceptions when considering the two.

Multiple Regression analyses (p ≤ .003) were used to determine the extent that teachers’ (N = 324) perceptions of their principals’ (N = 21) leadership characteristics predicted the teachers’ perceptions of school climate and principals’ perceptions of their own leadership characteristics predicted teachers’ perceptions of school climate. Results of analyses indicated that teachers’ perceptions of leadership maintain more predictive strength for school climate than principals’ perceptions of leadership. In particular, the leadership characteristic of the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) Model the Way, showed a relationship most often to the school climate characteristics specifically related to the School-Level Environment Questionnaire’s, Mission Consensus, Professional Interest, and Affiliation. Conclusions can be developed from these data and used to inform leaders about their own school climate and ways to develop positive school climate.