Spirituality in the public domain: Rethinking educational leadership through the lives of public school administrators
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Spirituality in educational leadership is still a relative new concept in the area of education due to the limited research available; however, in the last fifteen years, the topic has gained interest due to the increasing demands placed on teachers, as well campus and central office administrators within public school districts. Many educational leaders are leaving the profession due to the increased demands, or just feeling burned out from the constant stress of the job. Because of this, many public school leaders are searching for a source of motivation, a sense of hope, or even a new form of leadership which injections passion and energy to perform their job responsibilities. Spirituality has become a new avenue in which public school administrators lead and make decisions because many educational leaders are searching for a way to lead which evokes passion and motivation for not only the leaders, but for the employees with whom they lead. The purpose of the qualitative study was to explore the use of spirituality within the praxis of educational leadership and decision-making for four public school administrators. I explored the participants’ practices, beliefs, and influences on their leadership, as well as his or her decision-making as each led his or her respective campus or district. The data was collected by the use of four semi-structured interviews, three journal entries, and documents submitted by two out of the four participants. In addition, the data was using NVivo 12 Pro software, which is a program for analyzing qualitative data. The themes (School Administrators’ Daily Practices of Spirituality, Spiritual Leadership as a Guide to Become a Better Leader, and Spirituality in Decision-Making for Public School Administrators) were revealed in the participants’ perspectives and understanding on how they led and made decisions in their current role as a public school administrator. The findings showed participants used life-experiences, spiritual beliefs, and internal and external influences in their development as an educational leader. In addition, elements such as role models, mentors, reflection, and family influenced each participant’s decision-making process. As a result, the participants’ use of internal and external influences and additional elements (role models, mentors, reflection, and family) were not used in isolation, but rather as an interwoven process to assist each participant in their leadership and decision-making opposed to isolated actions or practices.