Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Educational Administration and Supervision

Second Advisor

Copyright © 2014 Jeana Lietz

Third Advisor

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Millions of children worldwide grew up watching Fred Rogers, aka “ Rogers,” as their childhood neighborhood friend on the television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood . How was a man able to produce one of the most successful, longest running children’s television programs and stay true to his moral principles? This study examines the life and work of Fred Rogers, and identifies the leadership attributes of Fred Rogers and the implications for educational leaders, through the lens of the five sources of authority described in Moral Leadership: Getting to the Heart of School Improvement by Thomas Sergiovanni (1992).

The central research questions are: (1) What were the critical incidents in Fred Rogers’ life that impacted his work in children's television and child development? (2) Through the lens of Sergiovanni’s fives sources of authority, how did Fred Rogers advocate for public television? (3) Through the lens of Sergiovanni’s five source of authority, how did Fred Rogers promote his vision of children's emotional and intellectual development through his television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhoodand his company Family Communication, Inc.? (4) How did Fred Rogers address issues of disabilities through his television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and his company Family Communications, Inc.? (5) What are the lasting legacies of Fred Rogers’ work for individuals, child development, and the world of public television and children's television? (6) What are the implications for today's educational leaders from Fred Rogers’ leadership and work in child development and children's television?

The research includes interviews with people who worked with Fred Rogers, primary documents such as internal company memos and works written by Fred, watching interviews of Fred Rogers, and episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. This study concluded that Fred Rogers overwhelming relied on professional and moral authority as his leadership style.

Creative Commons License

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