Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Nancy Williams


Staff and student surveys at Lane Elementary School (pseudonym) confirm that students lack motivation to complete class work and often struggle to interact appropriately with one another. Similar concerns are reported across the United States as indicated by national Gallup Poll results on student motivation, peer relationships, and feelings of connectedness in schools. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to determine if elementary school personnel believe than an initiative called The Leader In Me has had a positive impact on student motivation and peer relationships. Underpinning this study were Perrin's student motivation theory and research on social and emotional learning, school/classroom climate, and character education. Interviews were conducted with a combined total of 18 teachers, administrators, and other staff members from three schools in the southeastern region of the United States where this initiative has been fully implemented. The data was analyzed and coded by common themes. The results confirmed that key elements of The Leader In Me including (a) a common understanding of and pervasive use of Seven Habits language, (b) student goal setting and data tracking, (c) leadership opportunities for students, and (d) a school culture that promotes student ownership of learning do indeed increase student motivation and promote positive peer interactions. A white paper was prepared and will be shared with Lane Elementary and others in the larger educational community who seek ways to increase student motivation and enhance peer relationships. This focused attention on improving the learning environment will better equip students to leave school systems college, career, and life ready thereby preparing them to be productive members of a global society.