Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum & Instruction

Document Type



The purpose of this autoethnographic study is to better understand the role spiritual leaders have in both educational settings and in the motivation of students. An overarching question guides this autoethnographic study: Is spiritual leadership, influenced by Christianity, an appropriate form of mentoring-leadership relationships in public secondary schools? The specific research sub-questions for this study address the following: 1. How do servant leadership and spiritual leadership help create this autonomous learning environment identified by Deci and therefore reduce the number of amotivated students? 2. How can understanding the student as an individual help a teacher confront the issues with motivation when addressing school report cards and state test results? 3. How can spiritual leadership, servant leadership, and mentorship practices address issues within the school such as racial equity, social justice, school bullying, and school morale of both teachers and students? The autoethnographic reflections of student-teacher relationships and interviews with participants – major data sources – reveals a sense of shared responsibility within the educational process focused on student growth and identity construction. Mentoring relationships with spiritual-servant leaders positively impact secondary students who lack one branch of the shared responsibility tree: he teacher, parent, and student responsibility branches.



Committee Chair

Sulentic Dowell, Margaret-Mary