School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Grania Holman


Servant Leadership, Principals, Assistant Principals, Building Level Leaders, Public School, Virginia


Education | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to identify practices of servant leadership styles of principals in selected rural school divisions in Southwestern, Virginia. The theories that guided this research were Robert Greenleaf’s (1970) servant leadership and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943). The central research question is: How do public school principals describe their servant leadership practices? The sub-questions include (a) what servant leadership practices are used with students? (b) what servant leadership practices are used with parents? (c) what servant leadership practices are used with faculty and staff? Participants were screened through purpose sampling by using the screening tool of Dr. Paul Wong’s servant leadership scale 360 questionnaire. The results were categorized, and 10 participants were identified as high servant leadership characteristic individuals. These 10 individuals were interviewed for relative servant leadership practices they utilized as servant leaders in their school. Implications for this study provided practices of servant leaders that outlines various methods from interactions, communications, and examples of servant leadership style leaders in a naturalistic and interpretive setting. Five themes from this study were identified, listening/open door, relationships, growth of people, leading by example/modeling, and communication. Moreover, this study identified 55 servant leadership practices that can be utilized on a daily basis.