Adverse challenges in schools that distract from student learning have necessitated effective leadership more than ever before. These challenges include, but are not limited to, budget cuts, standardized testing, poorly trained teachers, poverty, and low parent participation. Every school year academic administrators approach the aforementioned challenges with the hope of improving student achievement. However, without effective practices to foster and sustain student achievement, often, their efforts are in vain. As school districts recruit and deploy leaders, it is critical to select those who have passion to foster positive change. It is equally important to hire administrators who possess those characteristics essential for effective leadership. There is a myriad of existing leadership models, theories and applications for school leaders, who strive to further develop their leadership approach. However, many of the historical models identified in literature do not encompass the leadership characteristics of John F. Kennedy. Although he has been noted as a remarkable leader, many of the historical models lack his characteristics, as identified in literature and other resources. Kennedy was known for his lifelong abilities to make leadership look effortless and to see obstacles as opportunities. The intent of this grounded theory qualitative study is to examine the leadership characteristics of John F. Kennedy and to use his characteristics as a construct for an alternative leadership model for education practitioners. This researcher has utilized grounded theory methodology to study a particular situation through systemic data collection and analysis to develop a theoretical model. Specifically, this study serves 2 purposes: identify John F. Kennedy's leadership characteristics and provide a new paradigm in school administrative management. The model will function as a tool for education practitioners who seek to overcome obstacles, restructure and eradicate ineffective practices. This study illustrates relevant literature to reveal existing historic models and definitions of effective leadership. Additionally, through biographical analysis and summaries of events, it focuses on Kennedy's leadership practices as documented in the literature. Ultimately, the findings of this study provide the scaffold for Kennedy's Leadership Model for Education Practitioners.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Kennedy, John F. -- (John Fitzgerald), -- 1917-1963; Educational leadership; Dissertations (EdD) -- Leadership and policy

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Fitzpatrick, John