Publication Date

Spring 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Mary D. Bruce, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Katy Hisrich, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Lauri Morrison-Frichtl, MA


This study examines the leadership style of Head Start and Early Head Start leaders in the context of program quality. The study was designed to answer the question: Does transformational leadership contribute to quality in Head Start/Early Head Start programs?

The study used a quantitative design within a transformational leadership theory framework. Head Start/Early Head Start directors, education coordinators, site/center directors and chief executive officers received an email request to answer a brief (10- to 15-minute) survey. Questions included the education level of the leader, leader’s years of experience, program site accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, grantee monitoring status, and designation renewal status for all programs. In addition, the survey requested information from the most recent Program Information Report (PIR). Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Instructional Learning Format Scores for Head Start programs were also examined. The Global Transformational Leadership Scale (GTL), a valid and reliable seven-question scale of transformational leadership, served as a useful tool to measure leadership style.

Data were gathered using a link embedded in an email leading to the survey, which was hosted on Survey Monkey. The sender asked recipients to forward the survey to other leaders within their program. Data were analyzed using bivariate correlation analysis and yielded moderate correlations to several of the quality indicators. This research contributed to the field and found that leadership is important in Head Start programs and has a moderate but significant effect on program quality.