First Advisor

Deborah Peterson

Date of Publication

Spring 6-11-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Administration


Educational Leadership and Policy




Elementary school principals, Leadership, Bilingual Education, Immersion method (Language teaching)



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 154 pages)


In the past decade the number of dual language immersion programs in US public schools has grown to more than 2000. The benefits of dual language immersion for emergent bilinguals (EBs) have been confirmed by numerous studies. However, lacking from this literature is research which focuses on leadership within dual immersion schools. Despite an upsurge in the number of immersion schools, few studies examine the characteristics of effective immersion leaders. The aim of this study is to examine the leadership characteristics of principals leading K-5 dual language immersion programs who have increased student achievement among EBs.

The purpose of this case study is to identify leadership characteristics of three successful K-5 dual immersion principals and to understand the relationship of such characteristics to the student growth of Emergent Bilinguals (EBs). In the literature review, I present the theoretical framework of Bolman and Deal (2003), historical perspectives of immersion in the United States, learning perspectives in the area of dual language immersion, and leadership and student achievement.

The research approach for this study is a case study design. The subjects for this study are experienced principals who are successful in terms of student achievement for EBs as measured by school performance exceeding their district performance average and that of comparison schools. To answer the research question about the characteristics of successful leaders of dual immersion schools, I conducted a qualitative study to include principal interviews, school document review, and teacher focus groups.

As schools increase their focus on reducing racial inequities, how to reduce educational inequities among EBs must also be a focus. By understanding the characteristics of leaders who are successful with EBs, we can impact school district hiring practices, principal preparation programs, and district policies.


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