Date of Award



© 2019 Marie-Pascale Addison

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Leslie Hitch

Second Advisor

Laura Bertonazzi

Third Advisor

Lee Waller


In 2014, Dubai Government adopted the United Arab Emirates (UAE) National Agenda, a strategic plan for Vision 2021, whereas leaders are associated with improving the quality and accessibility to education, which represents a major priority in sustaining economic prosperity and achieving social development goals (Government of the UAE, 2016). Managing this seven-year transformation plan in the educational context has been reported in part by Litz and Scott (2016), in which their study revealed that Emirati school leaders needed to change their leadership practice in order to align with the National Agenda expectations. This study explores critical challenges and opportunities for K-12 private education in modern Dubai. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine how a selected sample of international school leaders in Dubai managed to bring their school rating beyond the acceptable threshold of the UAE National Agenda in 2017, after three years of low performance. More specifically, this study addressed two research questions: What leadership strategies used by these school leaders were identified as effective to change and improve school performance over a three-year period? In addition, considering Dubai’s highly diverse population with over two hundred nationalities (Government of the UAE, 2018), what, if any, Modified or Cross-Cultural Transformation Leadership approaches, as defined by Litz and Scott (2016) were evident in the improvement of the selected sample of international schools? Results from two sources, published school report analyses and transcripts of recorded one-on-one interviews with school principals, revealed this modified or Cross-Cultural Transformation Leadership approach, as defined by Litz and Scott (2016), was evident in the improvement of the selected sample of international schools. Further research is needed to follow the progress initiated by the UAE National Agenda, to explore the growth after Vision 2021 and determine whether Dubai has indeed reached its goal to be ranked among the safest, smartest, most innovative, and happiest nations (Government of the UAE, 2016).


Ed.D. Dissertation