School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Lucinda Spaulding


Leadership, School Climate, PBIS, Principal, School Culture, Leadership Experiences


Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the experiences of principals who had implemented Schoolwide-Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (SW-PBIS) frameworks in New York State. The theory guiding this study was Situational Leadership Theory, as it focuses on the idea that leadership is contingent on the situation that is presented. The researcher sought to understand those varying leadership experiences which surround the implementation of this framework. Research data came primarily from interviews with 10 principals who had experience implementing this framework; however, data was also collected from timelines and from analysis of documents from the implementation process. Data analysis involved the use of the phenomenological open coding method in order to identify common themes. The data was sorted into categories and codes, and then combined into themes. The interview data was coded through an inductive process in order to generate a description of the essence of the phenomenon. Five themes were identified through the analysis of the findings: (a) building capacity, (b) structure/system, (c) evaluation, (d) leadership behaviors, and (e) leadership core values. Findings show that it is essential to build the capacity of the staff through relationships, team development, and the provision of time and resources. Also, it was revealed that principals agreed that maintaining a vision, integrating practical components, and communication were vital elements of the framework's structure and system. However, the principals indicated that evaluating the process, decisions, and data throughout implementation was essential for this work. Lastly, the principals agreed on various key leadership behaviors and core values.