Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Ian A. Menchini

Second Advisor

Alaina A. Desjardin


Managing early childhood education (ECE) programs is intricate, with directors facing challenges in organizational leadership, business management, and meeting pedagogical standards. Early childhood education directors are vital as they play a crucial role in ensuring quality education and care. Despite the importance, research on leadership and management, especially through a gender lens, is limited. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative narrative inquiry was to explore the leadership and management challenges Los Angeles County based, private-for-profit, single-center early childhood education directors experience in their leadership and management roles. Six participants who self-identified as ECE directors completed semi-structured interviews over Zoom. These interviews were then restoried into narratives and coded into themes using a coding software. Two major themes were developed: leadership and management challenges and strategies. The findings suggest that ECE directors need leadership and management academic and professional preparation before beginning a director’s position. All directors emphasized the need for mentorship for support and guidance. While this study adds to the existing knowledge, further extensive research is required to gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges ECE directors experience and the support they need to lead and manage their programs successfully and effectively.


Ed.D. Dissertation



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