Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Jamie Patterson


The passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1975 was the summation of many years of advocacy for students with disabilities in the United States. Many school personnel face challenges implementing the act’s inclusion mandate, which requires that all students be educated in the least restrictive environment that provides the best services. More research is needed to understand how principals’ leadership practices support inclusion education among their staff. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore general education teachers’ perspectives of administrator support in the elementary inclusion classroom. The framework for this study included elements from Bass’s transformational, transactional, and passive avoidant leadership theories. A purposeful sampling strategy was used to select 12 elementary teachers with experience in the inclusive setting. Data from semistructured interviews were analyzed inductively and deductively using a priori, open, and axial coding strategies. Participants perceived themselves as being supported by their respective administrators based on their individual needs within the inclusive classroom. Participants perceived principals as using transformational leadership behaviors, particularly idealized influence and intellectual stimulation, to support teachers in the inclusion classroom. Some participants wished for less autonomy and more specific support suggestions. Recommendations included comparing leader and teacher perceptions of support. Positive social change implications include enhancing leaders’ behaviors and supports for inclusion teachers to improve their capacity to meet the learning needs of all students.