School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Kristy Motte


collaborative leadership, homeschool, homeschool co-ops, student success, informal educational settings


Educational Leadership


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the lived experiences of collaborative leaders at homeschool cooperatives (co-ops) in North Carolina. The theory that guided this study is Chrislip and Larson’s theory on collaborative leadership, as it explains that changes made for the success of educational institutions are better achieved when many different groups, such as teachers, parents, administrators, counselors, and students, work together to decide and enact those changes. Moustakas’ transcendental phenomenological approach was used to analyze data collected from ten homeschool co-op leaders' individual interviews, focus groups, and blog posts provided by adults who participate in the leadership of homeschool co-ops. Through reviewing this data, themes were created, and textural descriptions of the lived experiences of collaborative leaders in homeschool co-ops and how their collaboration leads to students' success were devised. Through data analysis, inferences for recommendations for future research were discussed. Findings revealed that homeschool co-ops were made up of leaders who often had a life long passion for education. These leaders come together under their homeschool co-op with a common goal of using their passion to invest in young people. Secondly, homeschool co-op leaders had a student-centered education method in which they identified students’ individual needs and reacted with in-depth, hands-on, and real-life learning experiences. Finally, homeschool co-op leaders successfully lead homeschool co-ops by maintaining their vision for their homeschool co-op. Participants did this by having multiple roles in leadership to enact different tasks and learning from previous issues that appeared within the homeschool co-op.