Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A healthy dose of leadership: Superintendents' leadership styles in implementing school health and wellness programs in Indiana
by Robertson, Alice J., Ed.D., Indiana Wesleyan University, 2009, 204; 3389862
Abstract (Summary)

This study sought to examine leadership styles used by Indiana superintendents and how leadership style impacted the implementation of the legislative mandates within Public Law (PL) 108-265. As a result of the legislation, public school districts which offer free-and-reduced lunch rates to students are required to have a district wellness policy written by a comprehensive committee of school and community members who develop, implement, and evaluate the policy. Through a mixed methods approach using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire, semi-structured interviews with superintendents, and interviews with district committee members to gather feedback regarding the superintendent’s leadership style, the researcher sought to understand how superintendents’ responses to PL 108-265 varied depending upon the leadership style exhibited by the superintendent.

The study found superintendents used a combination of transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles. However, superintendents who operated with a greater degree of transformational leadership style led within districts where the response to PL 108-265 was more comprehensive. In districts where the superintendent exhibited a greater tendency towards the use of transformational leadership style, wellness-focused programming was offered to students, employees, and community members living within the boundaries of the district. In districts where the superintendent used a greater degree of transactional leadership style, the response to PL 108-265 included competitions and incentives to encourage the students, staff, and community to make positive lifestyle changes. In those districts where the superintendents used a greater degree of laissez-faire leadership style, the response by the district to the legislative mandates of PL 108-265 included the minimum required by the law. Specifically, these districts had made changes to the cafeteria’s food choices for students, had eliminated pop machines from school campuses, and offered students the minimum allocation of time required by the law for students’ physical education and health classes.

Overall, the participating superintendents were found to use a combination of leadership styles, representing a continuum of leadership from the most transformational to the most laissez-faire. The in-depth interviews provided insights into the reasoning used by superintendents in determining their leadership response to implementing the mandates of PL 108-265.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Drury, Sharon
Commitee: Cook, Melissa, Fleming, Cheryl Torok
School: Indiana Wesleyan University
Department: Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 71/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Middle School education, School administration, Elementary education, Health education
Keywords: Indiana, Interviews, K-9, Leadership styles, Multifactor leadership questionnaire, School superintendents, Wellness programs
Publication Number: 3389862
ISBN: 978-1-109-56946-9
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