Term of Award

Fall 2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Paul Brinson, Jr.

Committee Member 1

Antonio Gutierrez de Blume

Committee Member 2

Marlynn Griffin


The role of school boards in American public education has been intensely debated for well over a century (Johnson, 2013). A broad variety of research on school boards exists, ranging from the topic of school board elections, to board member leadership styles, and to decision making processes. Much less research exists, however, on the impact of school boards on student achievement, even though school boards are increasingly targeted as one of the main reasons for poor student achievement (Jacobsen & Linkow, 2014). Johnson (2013) contends there is a growing body of evidence that indicates school boards play a critical role in the development and sustainability of conditions that are supportive of academic achievement. Similarly, Weiler (2015) maintains school boards must unify their efforts to improve the school district they serve to have a positive impact on student achievement. School board members, with their tremendous amount of power in governing all aspects of an entire school system, impact students in a variety of ways. The purpose of this study was to determine if there is any correlation between the Georgia School Board Association’s Board Recognition Program (GSBA BRP) and student achievement.

This study utilized student achievement data from English language arts and mathematics in grades three, five, and eight from the Georgia Department of Education, as well as demographic data from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, from each for each of the school districts that received or maintained a level of distinction from the GSBA BRP from 2013-2016. Results from regression analyses showed a negative correlation between the GSBA BRP and student achievement. The findings of this study are of greatest importance to local and state school boards, as well as state school board associations who wish to improve or implement a board recognition program.

Research Data and Supplementary Material