Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Julie M. McCann, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Corey McKenna, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Catherine Beck, Ph.D.


Principals of Lutheran Schools work in an environment that includes the leadership of a pastor or pastors. Principals and pastors often serve in Lutheran churches with schools as servant leaders. Within the framework of servant leadership (Greenleaf, 1997), this study focused on the experiences of five Lutheran school principals working with the pastors of their congregations. A case study approach was utilized to gather data through interviews of principals selected from Lutheran schools. Five principals were given the opportunity to reflect upon the preparation and training they received to lead Lutheran schools, with a focus on collaboration with their pastors. Building upon the limited previous research, the researcher sought to better understand the experiences of Lutheran school principals as they collaborated with pastors where they served as leaders. Data collection was conducted via interview. The principals interviewed indicated strong principal–pastor relationships were critical to successful Lutheran school leadership. Implications for future practice and development of Lutheran school principal preparation programs such as those provided by the Lutheran Universities and principal development initiatives of a national Lutheran Church body were discussed.