Allen M. Sell

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2009


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

James E. Henderson

Committee Member

Patrick Crawford

Committee Member

John Lemmon


spirituality, leadership, authenticity, superintendents


As leaders try to affect change and success in organizations the need to consider spirituality in leadership is clear. The increased need for strong leaders in public schools to meet increased accountability to the tax payer has led to extensive research into the variables that contribute to excellent leadership. This assertion may be especially interesting when considering the role of spirituality in public school leadership. This study proposed to identify a relationship between self perceived spirituality and both self and subordinate perceived authentic leadership behaviors in public school leaders.

Thirty superintendents in Western and Central Pennsylvania were given the Spiritual-Well-Being Scale (SWB) and a Modified School District Leader Authenticity Scale (MSDLA). Then at least five of the superintendents' subordinates completed a MSDLA scale rating the superintendent's leadership. The SWB was further broken down to SWB-A which is a religious measure and SWB-B a secular measure of spirituality. The results were correlated and regression analysis was run on the demographic factors of age, years of service, educational attainment, religious affiliation, and religious service attendance. There was no significant relationship between SWB and MSDLA subordinate ratings. There was a significant relationship between SWB-B and MSDLA self assessed scores and SWB-Total and MSDLA self assessed scores. The demographic data in most cases did not contribute to or subtract from the relationship in a significant way with one exception. Women scored significantly higher on both self and subordinate rated authentic leadership.

The study was limited by small sample size and interaction between the demographic variables. Further research with a larger sample and a cleaner design should be considered. The implications for practice are important enough to warrant more investigation into the relationship of spirituality to leadership.