School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Vonda Beavers


family structure, leadership practices, non-nuclear, parental investment, high school, principal


Educational Leadership


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to understand the shared lived experiences of Central Pennsylvanian high school administrators’ efforts to address the barriers to parental investment for non-nuclear families. The theory guiding this study was the path-goal theory, which builds on motivational theory to select the proper leadership style to achieve the desired outcome. The central research question was intended to discover the essence of Central Pennsylvania school administrators’ shared lived experiences addressing parental investment barriers for non-nuclear families. Three subquestions served to investigate the school administrators’ experiences with parental investment barriers, motivations, and their ability to lead. High schools in Central Pennsylvania was the setting for the study. The sites of this study included 12 school districts, which varied in size. Participants included different Central Pennsylvania school district administrators, purposefully sampled by selecting those who were knowledgeable about the phenomenon to share their experiences. Through individual interviews, a focus group interview, and a writing prompt, school administrators were encouraged to share their experiences regarding non-nuclear family barriers. Data analysis included epoché, horizonalization, clusters of meaning, and structural and textural descriptions. Participants expressed frustration when addressing issues resulting from non-nuclear families. Five major themes were identified from the participants experiences. Through participants experiences, it was established that school administrators put forth extra effort to assist non-nuclear families, use certain leadership practices to help non-nuclear families, found themselves faced with an expectation of barrier removal from non-nuclear families, felt helpless at times in assisting families, and identified system failures within the educational and judicial system.