Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education


Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Rosusan D. Bartee

Second Advisor

Ryan Niemeyer

Third Advisor

Susan McClelland


Building level principals are faced with a myriad of responsibilities from teacher observations to meeting with stakeholders to serving as chief academic and administrator in the school. From the student who frequently does not attend class to peer-to-peer fights to the student who brings a weapon to school causing a lockdown, any form of violence (i.e. high, mid-level, low) can be stressful to a principal who has not been properly trained in crisis management and disrupt the learning environment and school safety (Trump 2011; Dupper & Adams, 2002). Thus, the purpose of this qualitative, collective case study is to examine the preparedness of principals who have experienced low to mid-level crisis in urban high schools in a Large Urban School District (LUSD). Using the phases of the Crisis Management Life Cycle (i.e. Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery), the study particularly seeks to understand how principal degree preparation programs and urban high schools prepare principals to address low to mid-level crisis within the last five academic years (i.e. 2011–2012, 2012–2013, 2013–2014, 2014–2015, 2015–2016). Through the use of interviews, focus groups, and document analyses, the study finds principal preparation programs focus less on crisis management training and more on the principal as the educational leader. Particularly based on the research frameworks of constructivist epistemology and functionalist theory, the study acknowledged principals’ access to crisis management training at the district level, but principals expressed concern about the lack of crisis management training at the school level. Such data analyses allow for insights to be gained about school crisis management and principal preparation programs for today’s principals.


Emphasis: Education Leadership (K-12)



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