Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Robert Siebert


A growing body of research has examined relational trust in schools and its impact on school climate and student achievement. Trust is a complex concept. It has many layers such as benevolence, openness, reliability, competence, and honesty (Hoy & Tschannen-Moran, 1999). Principals who display collegial and supportive behaviors generate a high level of trust whereas principals who display restrictive and directive behaviors generate low levels of trust (Goddard, Tschannen-Moran, & Hoy, 2001). Principals are vital stakeholders in a school community. This is especially true for principals who serve high poverty schools where the challenges are unique and daunting. Despite the research on the importance of relational trust as a social capital tool for schools, there is little research that includes the principals’ perception of trust in their stakeholders. This descriptive quantitative study explored the relationship between the principals’ level of trust with his/her major stakeholders and the principals’ level of engagement in key leadership behaviors. High poverty middle school principals from a northeastern area were surveyed. The survey instrument includes statements on trust, organizational climate, leadership behaviors. The results of this study revealed that principals trust their major stakeholders and practice effective leadership behaviors are trustworthy leaders. This study filled a void in research on relational trust in schools.

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