Leading a school campus is an increasingly challenging and critical task that requires effective leadership. It is important to identify the specific leadership skills needed to create a culture conducive to learning, meet the unique needs of a particular campus and community, and enable continuous improvement. The leadership development pipeline aimed to identify, develop, and support potential school leaders, fostering their growth through targeted professional development, mentoring, and support. This mixed methods embedded experimental model study evaluated the effectiveness of a district's leadership development program, focusing on best practices for school leaders. The study employed a combination of quantitative data from surveys and assessments alongside qualitative data gathered through interviews, focus groups, and case studies. This approach provided a comprehensive understanding of a district’s leadership development program's effectiveness in building culture and leading learning to strengthen the pipeline of ready leaders. The research underscored the benefits of investing in personalized, comprehensive leadership training programs and implementing well-structured succession planning. The research also emphasized the need for targeted professional development opportunities via a learn-by-doing experiential approach. The findings informed the creation of a more systematic approach to building leadership capacity, incorporating a Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle of Improvement Science. Recommendations included utilizing a Leadership Task Force to develop a leadership competency framework encompassing all stakeholders, systematically identifying high-potential leaders early, fostering a supportive and collaborative school culture, and ensuring alignment of systems and practices with district values and goals. It was revealed that implementing these measures resulted in enhanced academic achievements for every student as well as cultivated a pipeline of skilled leaders ready for leadership succession.

Date of publication

Summer 6-28-2023

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Yanira Oliveras-Ortiz, Ph.D., Wesley Hickey, Ed.D., Gary Miller, Ed.D.


Doctorate in Education in School Improvement



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.