School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Clarence Holland

Primary Subject Area

Education, Administration


Community involvement, Community service organization, Rural Education, Rural Schooling


This dissertation study was a descriptive case study of a minority community service organization whose members were actively involved in local school decisionmaking and activities in a rural Northeast Georgia community. Rural schools face unique challenges in light of current educational trends. To address the challenges, rural schools must learn to encourage, develop, and sustain effective collaborations with increasingly diverse social groups in order to capitalize on all available social, economic, and intellectual resources. The purpose of this study was to collect and examine the stories and experiences of members of a rural, minority community service organization who actively sought a role in school decision-making and activities in order to develop strategies to increase diverse community involvement in rural school systems. Six community organization members participated in two individual, semi-structured interviews and one semi-structured group discussion. The participants answered questions pertaining to their experiences, motivation and goals for school involvement, successes and failures, and any obstacles they faced. In addition, commonalities and differences were explored between the study organization and a parallel minority community service organization. The data revealed that organization members expressed a desire to serve as advocates for the community, a responsibility to improve the quality of life in the community, and the belief that race continues to impact the opportunities available through schooling. However, the data also revealed obstacles to involvement that included distrust, racism, and limited access to opportunity. Strategies suggested by the data included effective communication and improved dissemination of information to all community groups, increased minority involvement in schools, recruitment and hiring of minority faculty, and increased collaboration between community and the school board.