Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in School Leadership


Center for Leadership & Learning


College of Arts & Humanities

Committee Chair

Dr. Christopher Trombly

Second Committee Member

Dr. Catherine Nichols

Third Committee Member

Dr. Patricia Kohler-Evans

Program Director

Dr. John Freeman

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Jeff Robertson


Principals and assistant principals are the educational leaders of their school buildings and must have a working knowledge of special education law, programs, and special education teacher supports. This study reinforces the need for principals and assistant principals to be fully prepared to lead all of their schools’ programs, including special education, prior to assuming responsibility for those schools. Without proper preparation, building-level administrators may unwittingly hinder the educational progress of students with disabilities, denying them a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and/or due process, and – in the process – placing their schools and districts at legal risk.