School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Susan K. Stanley


social emotional development, educational leaders, teachers, social emotional learning, K-12 schools, school climate, professional development, student engagement, virtual learning


Educational Leadership


The purpose of this qualitative transcendental phenomenological study was to explore the lessons learned by educational leaders and teachers in the social emotional development of K-12 students after the COVID-19 pandemic. Twelve K-12 leaders and teachers in varying in age and demographics participated in interviews, a focus group, and artifact collection to explore the lived experiences and lessons learned in social-emotional learning and development after the pandemic. Themes were then developed based on those experiences using the qualitative transcendental methods of research and data analysis. The themes discovered through research were student struggles, teacher/staff struggles, and school climate. The subthemes discovered through research were the struggles with student focus and virtual learning, teacher/staff struggles of professional development and work/life balance, and school climate efforts in social-emotional skill development, student engagement, and student wellness. The continuation of changes made in response to experienced difficulties during virtual learning, and the influence of social-emotional learning in a portion of the participant schools led to a perceived positive effect on school climate, student engagement, student wellness and teacher well-being.