Research in the area of early childhood has confirmed that children accessing high-quality programs lead to better outcomes in kindergarten as well as later in life (Committee for Economic Development, 2006; Frabutt & Waldron, 2013; Hudson, 2014; Stewart, 2015; Temple & Reynolds, 2007). The factors highlighted in research contributing to these outcomes have included teacher effectiveness and classroom quality (Armor, 2014; Fernandez, 2010; Ryan, Whitebook, Kipnis, & Sakai, 2011). One factor missing from current research and policy is the role of the early childhood leader. The purpose of this basic interpretive qualitative study is to gain insights into how early childhood leaders’ experiences have shaped their understanding of leadership, focusing specifically on directors from licensed early childhood programs in Northern Virginia. The central research question guiding this inquiry is: What are the experiences of pre-kindergarten leaders in licensed pre-kindergarten programs in Northern Virginia that inform their development as a leader? Three sub questions are also included: What led an individual to become a pre-kindergarten leader? What has influenced the leadership philosophies of pre-kindergarten leaders? What has influenced the current leadership practices utilized by pre-kindergarten leaders? Data from interviews, walkthroughs, and document analyses with seven directors from early childhood centers in Northern Virginia were examined. Through this process, five themes emerged: generational influences, collegial influences, past work experience, environmental influences, and leadership characteristic and behaviors. Three conclusions were built upon these themes to address the research questions. First, participants entered the field of early childhood due to generational influences with their child entering preschool or just by “falling into” the field. Once in the field, collegial influences encouraged participants to pursue the director position. Participants also rose through the ranks, by beginning as a volunteer or teachers’ aide, becoming a teacher, and then ultimately becoming a director. Second, a director’s philosophies were reinforced through the media as well as professional organizations. Finally, a director’s practices were informed through collegial influences, past experiences, and environmental influences.
|Advisor:||Linkous, Kelly Sherrill|
|Commitee:||Joyner, Stacey L., Nesin, Taunya W.|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Educational Leadership & Administration|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Education, Early childhood education|
|Keywords:||Early childhood leadership, Pre-kindergarten leader, Pre-kindergraten leadership|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be