Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


John Pijanowski

Committee Member

Kara Lasater

Second Committee Member

Christy Smith


parochial school, skill development, educational leadership skills


Principals play a key role in the success and sustainability of Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) schools. This study examines the qualities, characteristics and traits possessed by successful Lutheran school leaders to provide a framework for developing current and future leaders of Lutheran schools. Today’s Lutheran school administrator must understand and be effective in financial planning, marketing, curriculum and instruction, community outreach and strategic planning in addition to the more traditional areas of curriculum and instruction, employee evaluation, and other school management tasks. Today’s successful Lutheran school administrator must be a leader and not just a manager. Thus, Lutheran schools must identify the leadership skills leaders need to be a successful administrator and how to develop those leadership skills in leadership training programs for Lutheran school administrators. To put it simply, to be competitive and successful, Lutheran schools need to be led and not managed.

The study utilized the Delphi Method, a research method that utilizes experts on the subject who respond to a series of surveys, to gain consensus on the characteristics, traits, and qualities possessed by excellent Lutheran school administrators. Survey participants included the leaders of Lutheran school Leadership Development programs and current Lutheran school principals. The survey data led to fifteen traits, characteristics, and qualities that provide for excellent Lutheran school principals. Utilizing leadership frameworks from the Association of Christian Schools International (ASCI), the LCMS Lutheran Schools of Excellence Leadership Framework, and the School Leader Paradigm developed by the School Leader Collaborative, the researcher developed and organized the fifteen traits, characteristics, and qualities into four leadership categories:

Leadership of the Call: • Integrity • Ministry and Mission • Worker Care • Leadership (Servant Leadership)

Personal Leadership: • Growth • Self-Inventory • Learner

Relational and Social Leadership: • Communication • Relationships • Collaboration • Mentoring/Coaching

Systems Leadership: • Finance • Vision • Innovator • Strategic Plan

These four categories and fifteen traits will serve as foundation criteria in developing and training Lutheran school leaders. Lutheran school sustainability and growth depends on the excellence of its leaders, and this study will provide an understanding of the characteristics, traits, and skills a successful Lutheran school should possess.