Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Robert Siebert

Second Supervisor

Adam L. Rockman


This qualitative research examined the early childhood leadership preparation and resources, as well as the career trajectory and impact of these factors, have on the professionalization of early childhood education in New York. At the time of this writing, there is no defined and formal career track for an educator to become an early childhood administrator, and as a result, there are a variety of entry points for professionals to become leaders in these programs. The narrative inquiry methodology was used to research the impact leadership development has on the professionalization of early childhood education. Eight semi-structured interviews, supported by an online questionnaire were administered to early childhood leaders from eight New York State counties. Research indicates that leadership development is often retrospective. The leadership role has an identity crisis, as there are significant inconsistencies in the titles and professional identities of leaders. Despite these inconsistencies, research indicates that leaders identify themselves as servant leaders, assuming the role with an approach of vision for the community, service and dedication to their staff, and empathy for the children and families. Recommendations for future research include expanding this research to be more inclusive of the 62 counties of New York State. Recommendations also include research specific to women in the early childhood leadership role, as they comprise over 90% of the workforce. As early childhood education continues to grow as a national topic, this research can also be replicated in states other than New York.

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