Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Marty A. Bullis, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Douglas Anthony "Tony" Goss, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Charles W. Bindig, Ed.D.


This dissertation contributes to the scholarly conversation on the effects that leaders and leadership models have on educational organizations and how to cultivate a diverse pool of educational leaders within a complex educational landscape. The researcher developed a three-tiered conceptual framework related to: (a) the components of effective school leadership, (b) musicians and their capacity to lead, and (c) the developmental stages of teacher-to-leader transitions. Using an approach rooted in hermeneutic-interpretive phenomenology, the researcher led seven participants—each music educators who became educational administrators—through a series of semistructured interviews to reflect upon their lived experiences during their pathway to leadership, connecting their roles as musicians, music students, educators, and lifelong learners to their self-professed understandings of the qualities and practices that lead to successful school leadership. Findings revealed a participant transition to leadership marked by a dynamic, nonlinear continuum toward the formation of leader identity and the practice of educational leadership, and centered on the discovery of three overarching thematic strands—competencies, relationships, and values related to change action—that highlighted the participants composite utilization of: (a) a range of observable, well-exercised leadership competencies, (b) productive, nurturing, and reciprocal relationships with a wide variety of educational stakeholders, and (c) idealistic individual and community values to guide transformative change. Findings support the development of leader capacity through a shared leadership model, the management of unintentional organizational impediments to the recruitment, training, and selection of effective educational leaders, and further research on unique teacher reference groups and their relationship to effective educational leadership.

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