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. David Hoppey

Second Advisor

Dr. James McLeskey

Rights Statement

Third Advisor

Dr. Linda Skrla

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Pamela Williamson

Department Chair

Dr. Elizabeth Gregg

College Dean

Dr. Diane Yendol-Hoppey


In effective inclusive schools, school principals are the difference-makers. Principals of these schools possess a commitment to leading schools adept at delivering high academic achievement outcomes and providing an inclusive education for students with disabilities. This leadership is predicated upon their inclusive consciousness, or a dogged determination to provide ethical and meaningful educational experiences to all students, but especially those with disabilities. The purpose of this study was to understand how four elementary-level public school principals acquired, developed, and demonstrated an inclusive consciousness that guided their leadership of effective inclusive schools. Data were collected using a basic qualitative methodology and a series two of semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed via the constant comparative and cross-case methods of data analysis. Findings indicated that how principals (a) defined inclusion; (b) exhibited a disposition for inclusion; and (c) engaged in effective and inclusive leadership behaviors determined their acquisition, development, and demonstration of an inclusive consciousness that guided their leadership of effective inclusive schools. The discussion includes explication of findings, implications, limitations, and recommendations for further research.