Spring 4-18-2023

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Shelley Neilsen Gatti

Second Advisor

Mark Murphy

Third Advisor

Chien-Tzu Candace Chou


This multiple case study examined the administrative structures private schools have built, compared them with each other, and contributed to the field of research for private schools to learn from each other for continuous improvement efforts in how they serve students with disabilities. I selected three private school systems and interviewed participants (four women, and two men) who were the system directors and administrators of special education for the largest number of schools within the systems at the time of this study, the 2022-2023 school year. Data collection was comprised of semi-structured interviews, supportive documentation, and metamemos. Three major themes emerged from data analysis: 1) current private school special education administrators have uniquely trained and focused job descriptions, 2) historical problems of practice were met with decisive change to bring the current special education administrative structures into place, and 3) current problems of practice have been and will be met with a special education administrator’s vision. Findings were analyzed and interpreted through organizational theory (Bolman & Deal, 2008) and change theory, particularly improvement science (Hinnant-Crawford, 2020). The findings of this study indicate improvements in special education administrative structures for private school systems through cycles of change.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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