School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Gail Collins


PBIS Initiatives, Transcendental Phenomenology, Growth Mindset, Transformational Leadership


Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of elementary school building leaders with leading Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) initiatives in upstate South Carolina. The theories guiding this study were the growth mindset theory (Dweck, 2006) and the transformational leadership theory (Bass, 1996) as they tie into the experiences of building leaders through their journey. The central research question in this study was: What are the building leaders’ experiences leading PBIS initiatives in an upstate South Carolina elementary school? This study sought to discover the experiences of building leaders who were implementing PBIS. The data collection methods included 14 semi-structured interviews with building leaders from upstate South Carolina elementary schools to obtain data from their experiences. Additional data was collected through document analysis in meeting notes from building leaders. Focus groups were used by me to further identify over-arching themes from the data collected in interviews. Moustakas’s (1994) method of data analysis included the process of coding, code clustering, and narrating. Imaginative variation was used with a structural description of how these ideas occurred, while intuitive integration took place with the description of the essence and the meaning of the experience, which follows the work of Moustakas (1994). The results showed four themes prevalent in the PBIS initiative. Building leaders experienced a growth mindset open to the initiative, close-mindedness during the initiative, leadership behaviors having a positive impact on the initiative, and an increase in team or shared leadership.