Leslie Minger


The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore and describe the leadership communication practices of school principals in Southern California schools with demonstrated high levels of academic performance in order to identify practices that might be replicated in other schools. Communication practices were studied in relation to two leadership skill sets, basic and advanced. Basic leadership skill set includes (a) setting direction, (b) developing people, and (c) redesigning the organization. Advanced leadership skill set includes: (a) creating and sustaining a competitive school, (b) empowering others to make significant decisions, (c) providing instructional guidance, and d) developing and implementing a strategic school improvement plan. This multiple case study was conducted in a K-12 public school district and included two elementary schools and one middle school. Four data collection instruments, designed by the researcher included principal and teacher interviews, observations, and artifacts. Eleven certified teachers and three school principals were interviewed, each school provided communication artifacts, and the researcher spent one day observing the principals’ interactions to observe the overall feel of the school culture. The study yielded five conclusions. First, fostering a positive school climate is an important means school leaders have for improving student learning. Second, establishing trust is an integral part of leadership communication practices. Third, providing meaningful professional development communicates a focus on professional practice. Fourth, coordinating strategies school wide for instructional feedback provides a focus on learning and student achievement. Fifth, effective communication around both basic and advanced skill sets is essential to successful leadership. The study yielded five recommendations. First, state, district and school leaders are encouraged to include communication strategies that foster a positive school climate in leadership preparation courses. Second, school administrators should remain aware of the importance of establishing trust with all stakeholders. Third, school administrators should communicate the importance of professional practice through meaningful professional development. Fourth, school administrators should use consistent strategies for providing instructional feedback to ensure a focus on student achievement. Fifth, through communication practices school administrators need to provide a clear understanding of the basic and advanced skill sets for all staff members.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; School principals -- California, Southern -- Case studies; Educational leadership -- California, Southern; School management and organization -- California, Southern

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Purrington, Linda;