Term of Award

Summer 1998

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Michael D. Richardson

Committee Member 1

Harbison Pool

Committee Member 2

Garth Petrie


The present qualitative research is a study of three rural elementary schools in Georgia that experienced changes in grouping practices. The forces driving changes varied among the systems. This study is an examination of the views of those who brought about the changes and those who were expected to implement the changes.

Through ethnographic techniques of interviewing, focus groups, and examination of artifacts, the study attempts to describe and explain the participants' point of view of the changes that occurred. The constant comparative method along with the QSR Nudist program was used to analyze the data.

The study emphasizes the role of the individual in change efforts, the importance of the leader, the inevitability of change in the 20th century, and the importance of all educators assuming a leadership role. Change was not welcomed at any of the 3 schools. However, participants had few choices except to accept the changes. The process of change in each school was a complex, nonlinear story that illustrates how complex schools have become and gives an example of the importance of tradition, study and research, staff development, participatory decision-making, and leadership skills.


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