An Examination of the Leadership Traits Perceived Necessary for the Ideal Virtual School Leader

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TITLE An Examination of the Leadership Traits Perceived Necessary for the Ideal Virtual School Leader
School of Education
Columbus State University (Georgia)
Unpublished doctoral dissertation: April 2018

The purpose of the study was to explore the leadership traits deemed important for leading in a virtual school program.

The participants in the study were school teachers and administrators from eight different virtual schools in either Georgia or Alabama. Thirty-two teachers and eight administrators participated by ranking the leadership characteristics perceived as important for a virtual school administrator using the Kouzes Posner Characteristics of Admired Leaders (CAL) checklist and asked to further explain their top five selected traits. Twenty-seven of the teachers and five of the administrators were women.

Both the virtual school teachers and the virtual school administrators ranked broad-minded, forward-looking, competent, and honest among the top characteristics on the survey. There were a few differences in comparing the responses from the virtual school teachers to the identified traits from the perspective of the virtual school administrator. The virtual school teacher group deemed cooperative and dependable as desired traits for a virtual school leader. The virtual school leaders, responsible for the day-to day operations of the school program, recognized ambitious and inspiring as more important leadership traits. However, Mann-Whitney U-test showed no significant difference between the two groups’ ranking of the admired leadership traits.

The author notes:

When associating the results of the study to the top traits identified by Kouzes and Posner (1987), the researcher found parallel characteristics. Four of the top six traits overlapped to include broad-minded, competent, forward-looking, and honest. The traits of ambitious and dependable were deemed important by the participants of the study compared to intelligent and inspiring from Kouzes and Posner’s list of admired traits. The themes emerging from the quantitative data (surveys) and the qualitative data (interview transcripts) were consistent when answering the research questions (pp. 88-89).