Expanding transformational leadership theory by studying growth mindset principals in schools with increased economic diversity: A collective case study

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This collective case study examined the effect of the mindset of a public school principal on the mindset of the teachers at campuses experiencing significant growth in the number of economically disadvantaged students. In many public schools today, the economically disadvantaged student population has been increasing and, therefore, creating challenges for the principal and teachers as they sought to meet the needs of a more diverse population. In public schools experiencing increasing economic diversity, the importance of a principal with a strong skill set in transformational leadership to lead teachers through this change was significant. However, the relative dearth of literature tying transformational leadership to demographically changing schools was evident. The secondary purpose of this study was to demonstrate how growth mindset was potentially a subset of transformational leadership. It was the goal of the researcher to determine if a principal with a growth mindset had a positive impact on the teachers who possessed either a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.
Through purposeful sampling, three different public elementary schools located in or around larger metropolitan areas in the west Texas region were selected as the research sites. Each of these schools had experienced at least an eight percent growth in their economically disadvantaged student population over a ten year period and the principal of each school had been determined to possess a growth mindset. Data collection included individual interviews of the principal and selected teachers as well as focus group discussions at each research site.

Growth mindset, Fixed mindset, Transformational leadership theory, Poverty, Changing demographics, Economic diversity