Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Kathleen Budge, Ed.D.


Jennifer L. Snow, Ph.D.


William H. Parrett, Ph.D.


A.J. Zenkert, Ed.D.


This research study, while highly personalized, contributes in various ways to the literature on public schooling. First, this study includes a critique of the public schools and posits that while public schools are the problem, potentially public schools may also be the solution. This allows multiple and novel interpretations of the critique of public schools. Second, while reflection and reflective practice has been emphasized in the teaching profession for decades, this research study offers a reflection within the context of a practicing principal, therefore, expanding the possibility of reflection application to school leaders. Third, this study and my analysis of the alignment of theories of action and theories-in-use will provide a rich description related to the application of the work of Argyris and Schön to the contemporary principalship. Fourth, there is much research regarding principals as school leaders, however, this autoethnographic study adds another perspective to what it means to be a leader in the current context of public schooling through an under-utilized, but potentially powerful, methodology. Finally, this research study may provide a new perspective to how one’s narrative can be used to learn and give voice to the voiceless.

Autoethnography is a qualitative research methodology and process. Through this methodology, I was able to respond to my research questions. The primary research question for this autoethnographic study was, what can I, as a leader, really do and also included were the following sub questions: How aligned are my theory of action and theory-in-use? What did I do as a leader of a new school? What can the narrative teach me and others?