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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Mary Lynn Boscardin

Subject Categories

Disability and Equity in Education | Educational Leadership | Special Education Administration


The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to analyze the relationships that existed between the special education leaders and other members of a district leadership team in order to measure their access to social capital. Quantitative data were collected using surveys of one school district’s leadership team and social network analysis (SNA) was used to visually analyze the connections between members of the team. Qualitative data were subsequently collected via semi-structured interviews of each of the 19 members of the leadership team. What types of ties do the special education administrators have to fellow administrators within district leadership teams? What level of influence do the special education administrators hold as measured by access or position within a district administrative leadership team’s social network? Themes of trust, support/advice, acceptance/reassurance, and collegial relationships emerged as a result of the research. A model conceptualizing the impact and import of social capital in special education leadership within a district leadership team was developed and depicts how themes that emerged in this study can interact with each other to form positive collaborative networks that not only support leaders of special education but all members of the leadership team. Recommendations for future research are included.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.