Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership - Higher Education

Committee Member

Dr. Hans Klar, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Robert Knoeppel

Committee Member

Dr. Meihua Qian


Policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels rely upon school and district leaders to implement educational policies with fidelity. However, such policies are not often implemented as intended due to a variety of potential factors, including school leaders' lack of engagement in policy development. This study addresses the critical, yet understudied, role of school leaders and their levels of political engagement in a state located in the southeastern United States. Specifically, this quantitative study of 358 public school leaders in this specific state examined the extent to which school leaders are, in fact, engaged with the policy environments that surround their professional roles as educational leaders and the extent to which specific demographic variables are associated with a school leader's political engagement. The state's traditionalistic political culture (Elazar, 1984), combined with its unique history of education policy, would indicate the potential for demographic variables to predict whether or not a school leader was politically engaged within the policy environments surrounding his or her professional role. After conducting an exploratory factor analysis to determine factors that comprise political engagement for this study, a multiple regression analysis was used to determine if demographic variables are associated with a school leader's levels of political engagement. It was determined that demographic variables were not strong predictors of school leaders' levels of engagement with policies that impact their role as a principal or assistant principal as theories of political participation and political culture would predict.



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