School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Edward Moore


Adequate Yearly Progress, Graduation Rate, Increased Student Achievement, Leadership, Principals, Transformational


Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


This phenomenological study gathered, examined, and described the knowledge, beliefs, and actions of selected high school principals who had improved student achievement in their schools. This study was conducted to better understand the experience of providing moral leadership in schools, responding to moral challenges within educational settings, and understanding the factors which resulted in the phenomenon of high school principals raising student achievement to consistently meet state requirements. High school principals were selected for participation in the study based on their record of increasing the scores of their students on the Georgia high school graduation test and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), and for their record of increasing the number of seniors to graduate over a three year period. Research data came primarily come from interviews with six successful high school principals regarding their experiences; however, data was also collected from the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire and from each school's improvement plan. Data analysis involved the use of the phenomenological methods known as In Vivo coding and descriptive coding. The intent of this research was to provide insights into the practices of transformational principals who were successful in improving student achievement in their schools. The study found that principals can have an enormous impact on academic achievement when certain personal characteristics and practices are in place. Findings from this study suggest that the principals should be transformational leaders, active as instructional leaders, and committed to their schools' academic success.