Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education


This dissertation focuses on a case study of Wheaton Academy, a nondenominational Christian high school in West Chicago, Illinois. This study seeks to understand, through a study of its organizational saga, how and why this antebellum academy has survived for over 157 years and to what extent it has been able to maintain its founding fathers' Christian vision of social justice. Robert Benne's framework, focused on Vision, Ethos, and People as detailed in Quality with Soul, provides a useful lens to organize the study through three phases of the life of the school's saga: initiation, development, and fulfillment.

The central research questions are: 1) What was the original vision for the Academy? 2) In what ways can this vision be defined as a Christian vision of social justice? 3) To what extent has it been maintained or altered throughout its history? 4) What key educational leadership decisions were made that ensured the sustainability of the original vision? 5) How does Robert Benne's framework of Vision, Ethos, and People relate to the success of sustainability of purpose? 6) What is the organizational saga of Wheaton Academy? 7) When was it initiated and by whom? 8) What key components from Burton Clarke's work supporting fulfillment of that saga are to be found in the evidence for this institution? 9) What is the significance of this study to today's educational leader?

This study utilized a two-pronged qualitative case study methodology. The first prong focused on an examination of historical primary source documents and related secondary sources. The second focus included the interviewing of five key individuals, using 12 open-ended questions. The historical data and interview data was corroborated and triangulated with information gleaned from secondary sources that exist to distill commonalities addressing the research questions at hand.

Creative Commons License

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