Date of Award

Winter 1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Randy Busse

Second Advisor

Dr. John Brady

Third Advisor

Dr. Kris DePedro


The professional role of a school psychologist leader is a topic of interest for those in the field. Since 1940, state or national associations have outlined recommendations and guidelines for school psychology leadership roles. School psychology leadership aligns with the NASP training and practice model and is critical in promoting best practice. However, we know very little about school psychology leadership in professional practice, and the school psychology leadership literature is relatively void of research. The purpose of this study was to investigate the current status of school psychology leadership in professional practice, identify fundamental components (NASP competencies) perceived to fall under the area of leadership, to identify barriers in providing leadership, discover how school psychologists can be empowered, supported, and engaged in organizational change through leadership, and why this is critical to the practice and profession of school psychology. A survey was developed using the NASP Practice Model to guide questions regarding leadership and systems-level services in practice. School psychologist association members from four states and two online professional networks participated in the study. The data were analyzed via descriptive statistics. Specific questions addressed: (a) whether school psychologists in practice hold leadership roles, (b) the type of leadership roles currently held and desired roles, and (c) factors influencing leadership opportunities. The results indicated that the majority of school psychologists viewed themselves as leaders and most would like to hold a leadership role in the future. Organizational principles such as supervision, climate, physical, personnel, and fiscal support, and organization and evaluation of service delivery were not implemented in the school setting as outlined in the NASP Practice Model. Implications of the results for current practice and future research are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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