School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


David Vacchi


safety culture, leadership, case study, transformational leadership


Education | Leadership Studies


The purpose of this embedded single case study was to describe how school leaders foster a culture of safety in a secondary school in central Atlantic State. The central research question guiding this study was: How do school leaders foster a culture of safety in a secondary school? I conducted a single embedded case study at a top-rated high school that demonstrated a safety culture under the pseudonym of Chatantown High School. The conceptual framework undergirding this study was the Avolio and Bass full range of leadership model. Purposeful sampling was used to interview educators and educational leaders on-site, while random sampling was applied to select students for participation in a focus group to gain an understanding of how school leaders foster a culture of safety in a secondary school. Direct observations of school meetings, the student-led school safety council, and the parent advisory council were conducted to collect data for this study. I analyzed the data and developed a detailed description of the case, while utilizing thematic analysis for identifying the three essential themes of positive relationships, collaborative and participatory leadership, and student empowerment. The results of this study were that secondary school leaders foster a safety culture when they place a primacy on the relationships and empowerment of school stakeholders. Safety culture is created from the ground up, at the student level, and it requires leaders who have decisive humility to grow and sustain it at every level. These findings will contribute to the body of research concerning school climate, school leadership, and school safety culture, and fill a gap in the literature that describes how school leaders foster a culture of safety in secondary school.