Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Guillermo Montes, PhD

Second Supervisor

Idonia Owens, EdD


Although children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been extensively studied in the educational setting in past decades, urban public school leaders’ (UPSLs) views have been overlooked. A transcendental phenomenological design was used in this study to capture the lived experience of UPSLs’ perceptions and practices in supporting urban middle and high school students diagnosed with ADHD. Eight retired UPSLs participated in open-ended, semi-structured interviews. As a result of the rich stories and open discussions, the researcher identified four themes: (a) behavioral and pharmacological interventions, (b) systemic challenges and obstacles, (c) school policies and mandates, and (d) ADHD training options.

The findings indicate a need to understand best practices in ADHD intervention for UPSLs in a system riddled with inadequacies and frustrations. Trapped by regulations and procedures, there is a need to empower UPSLs with ADHD recognition and knowledge. Several recommendations were made for policymakers and leaders regarding the need for more qualified professionals to assist with students’ Individualized Education Plans or in the 504 Plan process. It was recommended that districts monitor and enforce applicable laws to ensure equitable practices, especially with professional development training in ADHD-related behaviors and with intervention strategies, as well as put into place New York State special education certification programs. Also recommended was decentralizing the Committee on Special Education process and providing a continuum of training for all staff supporting students with ADHD.

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