Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The College of Human Sciences and Education

Document Type



This autoethnographic case study was designed to investigate the relational aspect of trust, a characteristic of servant leadership, in the teacher-principal relationship. This trusting bond is an often overlooked, foundational element of a school’s success. I examined the role that trust plays in enhancing a school’s culture and how trust is established and maintained among one principal and teachers under my supervision. In addition, as researcher, I sought to uncover specific indicators that trust was present on a school campus. Finally, I sought to examine trust’s effects on collaboration and organizational commitment.

Through weekly reflections, I sought to examine my leadership practices as complete participant-observer through the lens of Hoy and Tschannen-Moran’s (1999) five faces of trust: benevolence, reliability, competence, openness, and honesty. By means of a teacher questionnaire, teachers were given an opportunity to gauge their level of trust in their leader, as well as rate my servant leadership characteristics. Questionnaire items were derived from the Omnibus T-scale (Hoy & Tschannen-Moran, 2003) and the Servant Leadership Assessment Instrument (SLAI) (Dennis & Bocarnea, 2005).

Results included the following overarching themes: Feelings & Actions Servant Leaders Elicit in Others and Servant Leader Characteristics & Actions. These themes were derived from the following concepts that emerged from the data: increased faculty organizational commitment, teacher job satisfaction, teacher professionalism, teacher empowerment, leader openness, leader competence and professionalism, leader benevolence, and leader’s high regard for teachers.



Committee Chair

Sulentic Dowell, Margaret-Mary