A Study of Leadership and Continuous Improvement at Leadership Preparatory Academy

2013-06-28T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Jacqueline Medina Araujo
This capstone project examines how an elementary school principal and her leadership team transformed Leadership Prep Academy in Capital City into a collaborative, high performing community school. This five-year process of continuous improvement involved engaging students, staff, parents, and members of the community in developing a culture of shared accountability which included analyzing existing practices and procedures, reviewing student performance and other relevant data, and developing strategic plans to move the school forward. Mrs. Garcia developed a culture of continuous improvement at LPA through the use of two major elements of leadership that served as two central themes throughout this story of school development. The first theme focuses on how she used power, authority, and influence to introduce changes and new initiatives. The second theme describes how she developed relational trust to help her decrease the risks and liabilities that occurred as a result of the changes. Mrs. Garcia used relational trust to lessen the friction caused by her direct communication and focused vision. Selected educational research will be used to support the central themes in this capstone dissertation. As Mrs. Garcia reflected on her experiences as principal over five years, there were two types of lessons learned: (1) lessons she and her team learned after reflecting on the past five years and (2) lessons that others should take away from the LPA story and analysis. Mrs. Garcia believed that each of these lessons may contribute to educational research on the use of relational trust with power and authority to implement change processes in school development, and may be useful to practitioners in understanding that risks and uncertainties need to be addressed in order for improvement to occur.