Date of Award



© 2017 Kristen Levesque

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Ella Benson

Second Advisor

Peter Harrison

Third Advisor

Nancy Harriman


Rural high schools are most impacted by a negative organizational culture. Toxic behaviors prevail over the positive ones. Perspectives about what is possible to attain become jaded when school outcomes do not match individual expectations. If leadership does not treat sustaining a positive school culture as a priority, then the successful transition to the new demands of education is unlikely. The qualitative research was founded in the conceptual framework about change and culture in schools. A grounded theory approach was used in the methodology to examine the role collaboration and leadership play in establishing culture. Research questions addressed the role of collaboration in school culture change strategies to support a school culture, change agent qualities, and beliefs about transference. Themes regarding rural school culture, leadership and change emerged from the research. Data analysis using an open coding process generated themes of culture, collaboration, change, and leadership. Findings from the analysis of the data include: intentional collaboration techniques involvement focus; maintenance of positivity, using strong communication techniques, and application of effective change agent strategies. Leaders can support a positive school culture by having a focus on relationships, scheduling time for collaboration, intentionality, organization, and having a growth mindset. This supports implementation and sustainment of a respectful school culture focused on learning.


Ed.D. Dissertation