Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. David Hoppey

Second Advisor

Dr. Daniel Dinsmore

Third Advisor

Dr. Diane Yendol-Hoppey

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Suzanne Herndon

Department Chair

Dr. Elizabeth Gregg

College Dean

Dr. Diane Yendol-Hoppey


School principals are responsible for the recruitment and retention of effective teachers, leading the instructional program, maintaining the climate and culture of the building, ensuring school safety, and improving student achievement, among other things. Social emotional learning (SEL) has become an important part of K-12 education and has been found to improve climate and culture, student achievement, long term student outcomes, and many other benefits. Research has been conducted on many of the student outcomes associated with SEL but there is limited literature in the area of the social emotional competence (SEC) of adults who work in schools, particularly school leaders. In this explanatory sequential mixed methods study, the social emotional competence of school leaders was explored through leader self-assessment, comparing their results to the ratings of their subordinates, and then interviewing selected leaders regarding their beliefs about the relationship between social emotional competence and leadership, as well as how they explain their own ratings and the congruence or dissonance between how they rate themselves and others’ ratings of them. Findings point to the importance of leaders’ self-awareness of their social emotional skills, the significance of leaders’ relationships with subordinates, peers, and mentors, and the need for leaders to prioritize a balance between their work and personal lives.