Date of Award



© 2018 Reva L. Mathieu

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Marylin Newell

Second Advisor

Jennifer Galipeau

Third Advisor

Nicole Boivin


The purpose of this study was to identify perceptions and experiences of leaders and followers within a special purpose private school during on-going crisis events to better understand demonstrated behaviors, values, and characteristics of leaders. The study site was the state of Maine, USA. The participants completed a survey and semi-structured interview. Four leaders and eight followers participated in the study from four schools and two agencies. A survey asked participants to prioritize leadership characteristics in the areas of relationships, operational style, and personal qualities; and to describe the five most challenging crisis experiences they have encountered working in their role. Semi-structured interviews addressed perceptions of leaders and followers based on demonstrated characteristics, behaviors, and values that leaders within each of the schools encompass and whether these characteristics, values, or behaviors are effective or beneficial within ongoing crisis settings. Analysis generated four major themes including (a) presence, approachability, and availability of leaders, (b) the ability for leaders to demonstrate a high level of emotional intelligence when working with followers specifically in the area of emotional regulation, (c) leaders assisting followers in order to be heard and feel valued, and lastly, (d) a leader who understands the complexity of responsibilities, competing interests and needs within special purpose private schools. Most areas identified included leaders’ and followers’ agreement on areas of need, however, the leaders tended to have a bigger picture outlook on the areas of need which suggests that followers may not perceive the implications of competing responsibilities outside of their immediate roles at the schools. Further areas of study include expanding to other schools outside of Maine with similar populations, other follower roles, and conceptualizing the notion of supervision of staff in order to operationalize support for leaders and followers.


Ed.D. Dissertation