Date of Award

Spring 4-11-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership for Learning Dissertations


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair

Susan Banke

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Nicholas Clegorne

Second Committee Member

Mike Dishman


This qualitative phenomenographic study articulates the different perceptions of independent school heads of school and executive board leaders in their understanding of key constructs of independent school governance, especially as the understanding may change during a crisis. The five constructs of independent school governance are the separation of governance and management activities, maintaining the confidentiality and trust of the board room, the relationship between the board and the head of school, maintaining a strategic mindset, and general board operations. The review of the literature examines the dynamics of leadership through historical crises of an economic nature, endogenous crises, world health crises, and crises caused by natural disasters. Different models of governance and management frameworks, including negotiated order theory, trust versus control theory, the chair-dominated board, the head-dominated board, and democratic management are also reviewed. With the backdrop of the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis, this study examines the effects of crisis on the alignment of understanding between heads of school and board chairs of key constructs of independent school governance.