Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies


Education Administration

First Advisor

Susan C. Bon


Prior research has suggested that many principals are underprepared and that some lack any background from coursework and field experience which may be required to exert strong leadership in special education (DiPaola & Tschannen-Moran, 2003; DiPaola, Tschannen-Moran, & Walther-Thomas, 2004), but the number of students receiving special services is on the rise. The purpose of this research study is to determine how secondary school administrators are prepared to make legally and ethically defensible decisions as the authorized LEA representative.

If school administrators are expected to be effective in their role as the authorized LEA representative, it is vital that they have the appropriate knowledge and skills to do so. Further, to create an inclusive environment, it is vital for school leaders to have effective training and preparation. Given prior research indicating the lack of required training for school administrators during certification programs, this study examines whether secondary school administrators have completed required training at the local or state level or have developed their own individually driven learning and seeks to determine what developmental path they may have followed towards gaining knowledge.

Since administrator licensure programs may not be adequately preparing school administrators to be effective leaders of special education, and there is limited literature stating how principals are prepared for this lofty task, my research will fill a much needed gap determining how secondary school administrators are prepared to lead their viii schools in the area of special education with adequate knowledge to make legally and ethically defensible decisions while serving as the authorized LEA representative.


© 2019, Chastity B Evans