Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education


This study examines the leadership of principals who work in schools which have been identified as having a large student population living in poverty and have a record of sustained academic success as measured on standardized tests. The goal of this study was to identify which sources of authority these principals demonstrate in these high-poverty, high-performing (HP HP) schools where students achieve at higher levels than expected. Another goal of this study was to identify commonalities in leadership style and traits, which would include the concepts of moral leadership, among these principals in HP HP schools. This study used Thomas Sergiovanni's sources of authority as presented in Moral Leadership: Getting to the Heart of School Improvement (1992) as the interpretive framework for understanding the leadership of the selected principals. All of the schools studied were recipients of the Illinois Spotlight Schools Award in 2007. Illinois Spotlight Schools serve a school community where at least: 50% of students were identified as low-income; 60% of students met or exceeded standards in both reading and mathematics as measured on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT); 50% of students met or exceeded standards in both reading and mathematics in two previous years; made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in the two previous years as required by No Child Left Behind.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.