Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

NACO controlled Corporate Body

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

First Advisor

Dr. Warren A. Hodge

Second Advisor

Dr. Sandra Gupton

Third Advisor

Dr. Ronald Kephart

Fourth Advisor

Dr. John Kemppainen

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Elinor A. Scheirer

Department Chair

Dr. Jennifer J. Kane

College Dean

Dr. Larry G. Daniel


This study examined the leadership roles of secondary schools department heads at two government schools in Belize. Seven participants participated in the study and data regarding their perceptions of their leadership roles were collected through open-ended semi-structured interviews. Relevant sections from Belizean education documents were purposefully selected based on their relevance to the study. Documents were used to enrich the interview data.

Three data analysis strategies—content analysis (Patton, 2002), inductive analysis (Hatch, 2002), and educational criticism (Eisner, 1998)—were used in the study. Discussion of the analysis was based on the following three themes: (a) build instructional capacity, (b) increase learning opportunities for students, and (c) provide technical and vocational teachers access to professional training and development in technical and vocational education. The themes are perspectives from which to view and understand the leadership roles of secondary school department heads at two government schools in Belize.

Three major conclusions resulted from this study. One, secondary school department heads at the two government schools in Belize are school leaders whose multifaceted role includes myriad duties, responsibilities, and obligations. Two, department heads are street-level bureaucrats who implement and enforce policies and regulations through their classroom routines and the decisions they make. Three, policymakers, school management, and department heads need to invest in sustained professional training and development activities that are specifically designed for department heads. Implications for policy and practice include the need to establish minimum professional selection criteria for the role of department heads, expand the capacity of teacher training institutions, and foster a culture that supports and nurtures shared instructional leadership and learning among department heads.