Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Kevin P. Brady

Committee Member

Ed Bengtson

Second Committee Member

Kara A. Lasater


Employee Engagement, Leadership Styles, Non-Instructional Personnel, Professional Relationships, School-Level Administration, School Operations, School Support Services


With the literature and many schools and school districts advocating for enhanced communication and engagement with parents, families, and the community at large, it is advisable that school-level administrators consider the manner in which they engage the non-instructional employees who serve their schools. This dissertation explores the dominant leadership dynamics experienced by high school principals responsible for supervising non-instructional support services and leading non-instructional operations personnel in their schools. Trained and expected to be instructional leaders, principals must still ensure their students receive the basic services necessary to maintain a safe and effective learning environment. Ensuring students receive the benefit of meal service, bus transportation, facilities maintenance, and janitorial services are essential responsibilities of principals, but may seem contradictory to a quixotic notion of instructional leadership. This phenomenological qualitative inquiry compares leadership styles used by school administrators when leading non-instructional personnel as compared to those utilized with instructional faculty. Challenges examined in the inquiry include the navigation of organizational complexities involved with non-instructional operational services provided by the school district and the leading of outsourced employees in schools. Specific complexities explored in the study include school district organizational structure, the outsourcing of non-instructional services and employees, the delegation of principal responsibilities, and the discovery of employees who perceive themselves to be isolated from the school community. Finally, this research delves into the manner in which principal preparatory and professional development programs prepare school administrators to lead non-instructional staff in the performance of their fundamental school operational functions. Implications of the findings and recommendations for future practice include school –level administrator professional development relating to the engagement of and communication with non-instructional support personnel in their schools. Additional practical recommendations involve district-level program evaluations to determine the current effectiveness of organizational service structures and the outsourcing of operational services and staffing.