Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Ed Bengtson

Committee Member

Richard Abernathy

Second Committee Member

Kara A. Lasater


Arkansas school board, Arkansas successful schools, Arkansas student achievement, School board, Successful schools, Student achievement


The purpose of this grounded theory study was to describe characteristics and behaviors of school board members in Arkansas school districts where 50% or more of their campuses earned a letter grade of “A” on the 2014 Arkansas School Performance Report (Arkansas Department of Education [ADE], 2015). This purpose was achieved through analysis of artifacts from selected school districts including: achievement patterns; board minutes; and board member professional development records. A web-based survey of school board members was also utilized to gather demographic and background information. Finally, personal interviews were completed with a small group of board members to collect perceptual and contextual data. All of the participants of this study were current board members in Arkansas school districts. It is expected that this will provide credibility for the findings with other board members in the state as they seek ways to improve their work as the governing body of a local school district. This work supports what has been done with larger groups and may also act as a model for future research of a similar nature. The potential in this study is the possible focus that may be placed upon school boards in order to instill a sense of efficacy and mutual accountability for improving student achievement across Arkansas.