All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

D Keith Gurley

Advisory Committee Members

Mary Ann Bodine Al-Sharif

Amy Dagley

Scott Snyder

Debbie Voltz

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Education (EdD) School of Education


THE RELATIVE IMPACT OF TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP ON THE ACADEMIC OPTIMISM OF URBAN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS IN ALABAMA In an era of accountability, educational leaders seek and implement reform efforts to help promote school improvement and student achievement on a regular basis (Marzano et al., 2014). When considering school improvement, a possible strategy to increase student achievement could be the relationship between the school leadership style and the characteristics of the organization that are within the control of the school leader. The purpose of this study was to examine the relative impact of transformational leadership on the academic optimism of schools. Elementary schools located in high poverty urban areas of Alabama were the focus of this study. The convenience sample population for the study consisted of principals and teachers of urban elementary schools comprised of five school districts (N=20). School principals completed an online survey that consisted of demographic information regarding their school system, school name, school size, principal gender, and years of experience in their current school. Teachers of the participating schools completed an online survey exploring their perceptions of transformational leadership characteristics of their principal and the comprehensive academic optimism of their school. There were 20 principal respondents and 247 teacher respondents. All data were aggregated to the school level.   The independent variable consisted of Leithwood’s Model of Transformational Leadership. The dependent variable, academic optimism, comprises three components: academic emphasis, collective efficacy, and faculty trust in parents and students. The study’s findings indicated that there is evidence that there is a positive, direct correlation between transformational leadership and academic optimism. The more the transformational leadership practices of a principal were observed, the more academic optimism is within the school.

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