Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education


Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Douglas R. Davis

Second Advisor

Denver Fowler

Third Advisor

Marie Barnard

Relational Format



The purpose of this explanatory quantitative study was to determine if relationships exist between principal gender, teachers’ perceptions of the school climate, and the suspension rates of high school students in a large consolidated district in the mid-South. The research analyzed a single academic year, 2015–16, within the subject district. The study sample consisted of 20 high schools with similar characteristics. Ten of the high schools have a female principal and 10 of the high schools have a male principal. The independent variables of the study were principal gender and teachers’ perceptions of the school climate; dependent variables were the number of suspensions and the number of expulsions per student during the 2015–16 academic year. The research involved conducting independent samples t tests and Pearson’s correlations to analyze the data. Results revealed no statistical difference among measures of the dependent variables between groups. Nonetheless, relatively large mean differences and p value between principal gender and number of suspensions (high schools led by male principals had .583 suspensions per student and high schools led by female principals had .387 suspensions per student, p = .15) and a moderate correlation with a relatively low p value (r = .40, p = .073) between a measure of school climate and number of expulsions, indicate a possible Type II error. Given this mix of statistical results and possible error, the research concludes with a recommendation for further research.


Emphasis: Education Leadership (K-12)



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