Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Ideal leadership practices in Head Start: Understanding leadership from the perspectives of directors and teachers
by Gonzalez, Sandra Elizabeth, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2014, 174; 3674335
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to examine the manner that directors and teachers define ideal leadership practices of Head Start programs. Specifically, this study focused on understanding leadership practices through the lens of transformational leadership. This study was guided by the following three research questions: (a) What are the perceptions of Head Start directors on ideal practices of leadership (b) What are the perceptions of Head Start teachers on ideal practices of leadership and (c) How do the perceptions of directors compare and contrast to the perceptions of teachers.

The research methodology was a qualitative approach to understanding the perceptions of the participants through their experiences and perspectives of working in the Head Start setting. Data were collected by means of interviews and completion of a demographic questionnaire and an adapted version of the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI). The use of interviews allowed participants to reflect on their experiences and share their perspectives regarding what they consider ideal leadership practices in Head Start. Data were collected from 15 participants who currently work in various Head Start programs throughout Southern California.

The findings revealed ideal leadership practices in alignment with the practices of transformational leadership. Directors described ideal leadership practices to include a clear vision, collaboration, Head Start-specific knowledge, and staff motivation. Teachers described ideal leadership practices to include visibility ofthe director at the classroom level, leading by example, encouragement, transparency, and professional development opportunities. The results of this study are critically important with the shifts in policy to increase quality of and expand access to early childhood education programs for all children. The shift in policy has resulted in greater accountability being placed on Head Start programs to deliver quality services in order to avoid losing funding. Ideal leadership practices are vital to meeting the needs of the changing expectations of Head Start programs.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Slater, Charles
Commitee: Perry, Linda, Scott, James W.
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, School administration, Early childhood education
Keywords: California, Directors and teachers, Head Start, Leadership practices, Preschool leadership, Staff motivation, Transformational leadership
Publication Number: 3674335
ISBN: 978-1-321-27678-7
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