Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education


Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

S. Ryan Niemeyer

Second Advisor

Richard Balkin

Third Advisor

Susan McClelland

Relational Format



Many schools across the nation are not making adequate achievement or growth goals from year-to-year. This leads to high principal turnover rates and instability in the learning environment which profoundly impacts student achievement. Currently, most efforts in schools are aimed at raising student achievement, implementing equitable practices, and limiting barriers. While these are critical actions for closing the achievement gap, the principal’s role in this process is vitally important. Therefore, this quantitative study explored how trauma affects factors that are pertinent to leader success in school principals. To determine the impact trauma has on leadership qualities, this study examined the level of trauma exposure in school principals and their self-reported leadership qualities. Linear regression analyses were conducted to determine if level of trauma exposure was a predictor of decision-making, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving scores. The results of this study revealed that there were no statistically significant relationships between level of trauma exposure and decision-making, interpersonal skill, and problem-solving scores. This finding was inconsistent with extant trauma literature which strongly indicated that trauma does impact each of these qualities commonly attributed to educational leaders. Recommendations for further research were indicated.



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