Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Carleton R. Holt

Committee Member

Benny Gooden

Second Committee Member

Kit Kacirek

Third Committee Member

Janet Penner-Williams


Academic growth, Accontability, Instructional leadership, Leadership teams, Principals, School improvement


After 28 years of federal and state policy development, regional and local initiatives and various budgetary appropriations, the status of American schools continues to decline. Lyne (2001) reported that Finland, Japan and Korea had the world's highest literacy in reading, math, and science, while the United States ranked 15 in reading literacy, 19 in mathematical literacy, and 14 in scientific literacy. Many factors may contribute to the decline in America's schools. However, with the prevailing economic decline in the United States schools continue to struggle with student achievement, especially students with who are low socio-economic. In addition, to meeting the needs of this perverse challenge schools are expected to ensure that all students learn and become proficient by 2014. This qualitative multiple case study explores the instructional leadership behaviors of three principals of elementary schools in Arkansas with a percentage of 50 or above low socio-economic students, in three different geographical regions, and with a student population of 500 or more. In addition, the three schools were ranked "Level 5" schools of excellence for improvement in 2008. Data were collected through structured in-depth interviews with the principals and teachers to discover the instructional behaviors for leadership. Hoy and Hoy's (2006, 2009) principals' instructional leadership behaviors were used as the theoretical framework: 1) academic excellence, 2) instructional excellence, 3) instructional improvement, 4) the providing of support, 5) intellectual leaders, and 6) recognition and celebration of academic excellence. This research study describes how the principals' instructional leadership behaviors are articulated in the schools to promote academic excellence in schools with similar factors of poverty.