Committee Chair

Bernard, Hinsdale

Committee Member

O'Brien, Elizabeth R.; Crawford, Elizabeth K.; Rausch, David W.


Dept. of Education


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


In this study, the researcher examined self-perceived school leadership styles of school administrators within the virtual school setting. Through this study, the researcher identified virtual school leaders and the leadership styles associated with their work. Participants in this study were employed at K12, Inc. representing virtual schools that were operating with a full-time state sponsored staff at that time. The 26 participants in this study represented a 35% response rate, which was the main limitation in this study. The research instrument used in the study was the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) with an added demographic survey. The dependent variable was the administrators’ leadership style identified on the MLQ. The independent variables were the demographic factors including years of experience, school type, size of school, administrator gender, administrator age, race, highest degree obtained, years in education, grade level, number of teachers in school, and previous role in brick and mortar setting. The data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and Chi square to address the two main research questions. The second research question consisted of six sub-questions. The results showed a significant relationship between administrators’ leadership style and the school type. District school administrators were more transformational, and state charter school administrators were more transactional. The results also showed a significant relationship between administrators’ leadership style and gender. Male administrators perceived themselves as more transformational, and female administrators perceived themselves as more transactional. The remaining variables did not have enough data to determine a relationship between those variables and leadership style. The findings of the study may have implications on leadership practice and development. Professional development could be provided for current virtual school leaders on topics of transformational and transactional leadership. Identifying the leadership styles of virtual school leaders as they relate to demographic factors could ultimately impact both teaching and learning outcomes.


Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.




Educational leadership; School management and organization; Leadership -- Ability testing


Leadership; Virtual schools; K12; MLQ

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




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