Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Thomas L. Fish

Second Advisor

Robert J. Brown

Third Advisor

Sarah J. Noonan


This purpose of this study was to examine and understand the leadership practices of four individuals who were serving in the capacity of superintendent leading to or at the time of their respective districts receiving the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The study explored how certain leadership practices transcended the four identified superintendents.

The qualitative case-study approach, including the use of site visits to each of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient districts, document reviews, and in-depth interviews with four superintendents and four identified informants, resulted in discovering two leadership themes that were found in common among these award winning senior educational leaders. The first theme, a commitment to continuous improvement, had three supporting factors which included personal accountability by the superintendent, the use of data in the district to make decisions, and a process for improvement. The second overarching theme this research identified was the practice of collaborative leadership. Two supporting factors of this second theme included the superintendent’s willingness to share leadership responsibilities and the superintendent’s focus on empowering others in the school organization.

These findings suggest that common practices of leadership exist among superintendents of Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient school districts. Furthermore, analyzing these findings through the lens of Bolman and Deal’s (2008) four frames suggests that educational leadership by senior leaders involves a blend of multiple frames, with no singular method for effectiveness. Thus, these superintendents, their leadership practices, and the multi-frame analysis of their common leadership practices may serve to represent successful leadership practices for other senior educational leaders considering pursuit of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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