School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Susan Lovett


student-centered, educational leaders, teacher-centered, 21st-century skills, leadership, K-12


Educational Leadership | Educational Methods


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study is to understand the process of changing from teacher-centered practices to student-centered practices for K-12 educational leaders at Blue Ocean school district (pseudonym) in Louisiana to equip students with 21st-century skills. The theory guiding this study is Lewin’s change theory, which undergirds the premise that as individuals embrace change, they are better equipped to support the vision of why change is needed, ultimately leading to lasting change. A transcendental study was used to capture the essence of the change from TCL to SCL experience of ten educational leaders from seven schools in BOSD with no less than two years of leadership experience. Data were collected through individual interviews, journal prompts, and focus groups. Data analysis will be conducted using Moustakas's (1994) modification of the Stevick-Colaizzi-Kenn method to answer the question: “How do educational leaders describe their experiences and perceptions of changing from teacher-centered to student-centered practices in their K-12 schools?” Seven themes were derived from the data analysis 1)SCL is beneficial, 2) agile leadership, 3) relationships are key, 4) change is challenging, 5) teacher growing pains, 6) time, and 7) importance of buy-in. The data revealed that SCL is beneficial at the classroom and building levels for schools that implement this pedagogy. Additionally, the data indicated leadership styles, practices, and time matter if stakeholders are to buy into the change to SCL. Further, this study provides insight into how time is needed for implementation and professional development which may reduce the challenges educational leaders face during pedagogical change.