Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education


This dissertation explored the possible effects that the 2008 financial recession might have had on superintendents' leadership and decision-making. A great deal of scholarship has addressed the effects of the 2008 financial recession as well as educational leadership, however, few studies have investigated the direct impact of the 2008 financial recession on superintendent's leadership.

The study answers the following research questions:

1. According to superintendents whose tenure included years 2007 to the

present day, what considerations did they bring into their decision making

regarding reductions within their school district?

a. What considerations were made regarding reductions in the

area of school curriculum, school personnel, & extracurricular


2. How did the superintendents assess the results of their

decisions from the time frame of 2007 to the present day?

3. According to the interpretive framework of utilitarianism, deontology,

care, and critique in what lenses did the superintendents' ground their

decision making?

4. What are the implications to the field of educational leadership?

This multi-case study focused on two Illinois K-12 unit school districts that are similar in size who rely on a mix of general state aid and property taxes. The participants were two superintendents whose tenure included the years 2007 to the present day. Interviews, observations, and document review were used to collect data.

The study concluded that it is essential for superintendents to have a true understanding of their boards' values and beliefs. It showed the value in establishing a solid working relationship with the board. This study shed light on the importance of having a plan in place for the district grounded in the values and beliefs of the school community. Additionally, this study identified the need for political leadership training and emphasized the importance of reflection as a means to promote growth as an educational leader.

Creative Commons License

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