Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in School Leadership


Center for Leadership & Learning


College of Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Sarah Gordon

Second Committee Member

Dr. John A. Freeman

Third Committee Member

Dr. Ginni McDonald

Program Director

Dr. John A. Freeman

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Jeff Robertson


The purpose of this study was to understand the overall experience of the school improvement specialist position in schools within the state of Arkansas that were labeled in need of improvement. In the study, there were seven participants who represented a variety of schools including homogeneous, a low graduation rate, culturally diverse, an alternative learning environment, an elementary school, a school that received a C letter grade, and a school that received an A letter grade. The data were collected by conducting semi-structured interviews which allowed the researcher to identify any thematic trends that arose. The major findings were the majority of school improvement specialist participants interviewed, they spent time on ensuring a safe school environment, analyzing data, creating school improvement plans, and collaborating with the building principal. Most of the school improvement specialists also spent little, if any, time on ensuring research-based instructional practices were present throughout the school and did not issue official ratings for teacher performance.