Term of Award

Fall 1996

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Michael D. Richardson

Committee Member 1

Jane A. Page

Committee Member 2

Garth Petrie

Committee Member 3

Bryan Deever


School systems across the United States have implemented various forms of site-based management (SBM) to restructure their schools and ultimately improve education. Educators have been disappointed with the results of SBM and some have related its failure to the way SBM was implemented in many school systems. Too often, SBM was implemented as a top-down decision and viewed as a goal to obtain rather than a continuous learning process.

This study was an ethnohistorical, single-case study of a small, rural elementary school in Southeast Georgia that implemented a form of site-based management, shared governance. Data collection consisted of a combination of qualitative techniques which included interview, observation, and a review of relevant documents. A combination of the constant comparison method of analysis and the use of the QSR Nud.ist computer program was used to process and analyze the data.

This study emphasized the importance of the transformational leader and his/her ability to create conditions in schools which support change. Including teachers in the decision-making process created ownership, increased teacher satisfaction and was vital to sustaining the improvement process. Once teachers and principals collaborated together in decision making, traditional roles changed. Teachers assumed leadership roles and the principal became a facilitator instead of a dictator. The process of change was complex and took a considerable length of time before improvement occurred. Essential elements to Optima sustaining the process was support from the League of Professional Schools, the climate the principal had created at Optima, and the parental and community involvement in the school.

OCLC Number



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