Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Dr. Susan Schultz

Second Supervisor

Dr. Jeanette Silvers


Many public school district leaders, including school administrators and board of education members develop and implement strategic plans in order to guide the leadership in carrying out the mission and vision of the district they serve. Although strategic planning is practiced widely among many organizations, little is known about the relationship between strategic planning and student achievement. This study used a qualitative research design and goal setting theory to determine how rural school superintendents and administrators are using the strategic planning process in their districts to affect student achievement. Data were collected using virtual interviews with public school superintendents in 11 rural school districts in New York State. Results of the study found that goals developed during the strategic planning process in districts studied supported the districts’ mission, vision, and core beliefs. Results of the study also found that the practice of strategic planning affected student achievement positively, and that districts studied implement goals through distributed leadership. This study provided recommendations for further research in strategic planning.

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