Dissertation Proposal Defense Announcement by Kevin Yaley

This event occurred in the past

Dissertation Proposal Defense Announcement by Kevin Yaley

This event occurred in the past

Date and Time

  • Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.





by Kevin Yaley


       According to the National Association of Independent Schools (2020), independent schools across the country continue to experience an increasing number of head of school vacancies, both expected and unexpected. Unfortunately, other than the publicly celebrated retirement or the highly visible and equally understandable (e.g., to be closer to family) move to another independent school, specific facts around the motives behind these departures are often hard to come by. Reasons for the lack of information range from legal constraints (e.g., non-disclosure statements and confidentiality agreements) to both parties recognizing the mutual benefit of messaging the departure in as positive a light as possible knowing full well that no matter the real reason, departures inevitably cause disruption within the school community.
       This lack of transparency, albeit in some cases explicable, makes researching and ultimately identifying which factors, if any, influence, at least in part, these departures rather challenging. However, what can potentially be more straightforwardly researched are the factors that may influence the retention of heads, specifically, those who choose to remain at their current school year after year. From these findings, then, one can theoretically deduce which factors – or, specifically, the absence or opposite of these factors – conceivably sway the decision of a head or board (or both) to vacate the position of head.
       Using a mixed-methods approach to data collection, that includes a web-based survey and interviews with selected heads from independent schools across the country, this study will seek to identify motivating factors that support relatively long-standing heads, and to investigate to what extent, if any, these factors influence the behaviors and attitudes of these heads as it relates to their short- and long-term employment decisions.

*Note: Dissertation defense is open to USD faculty, students, staff and alumni.

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