Date of Conferral







Christina Dawson


School-community partnerships are critical for children and families in concentrated poverty neighborhoods. This basic qualitative study aimed to understand the dual leadership roles that are inclusive of the school and community leaders’ collective voice for building trustworthy relationships and equitable leadership to support families and children from communities with high poverty concentrations. The conceptual framework included elements from transformative leadership theory, the family interagency collaboration model, and the Ubuntu philosophy of humanism. Four community-based leaders and four school leaders with at least 5 years of experience in an eastern U.S. state addressed the research questions by describing how they foster trusting and equitable leadership when collaborating. Interviews were semistructured and conducted one-on-one online; data were analyzed using thematic and comparison analyses. All leaders emphasized being relational, responsive, resilient, and reliable in their interactions with one another and community members. Partnerships arose due to out-of-school time program grants, and more programs evolved from ongoing collaboration and shared visions of service. The leaders became companions in filling gaps in academics, resources, and community connections. Important agreements included system coordination and alignment, delegation, and evaluation. Recommendations are financial stability for partnership programs, more partner-leadership emphasis in preparation programs and professional development, advocacy for community school models, and additional research. Positive social change can occur when community and school leaders effectively unite to transform schools and communities.