Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Donna Graham


Educators have regarded building leader-member relationships using collaboration as a fundamental component to successfully improve students' academic achievement. Ineffective collaborative leadership practices may lead to achievement deficits particularly for many urban charter schools operated by educational management organizations. The purpose of this case study was to explore collaborative leadership practices educational management organization leaders need to assist school principals in low-performing K-12 urban charter schools to improve academic achievement. Guided by Fiedler's contingency theory, this case study explored the successful collaborative leadership practices of educational management organization leaders and school principals in a midwestern urban charter school to improve academic achievement. Data collection included semistructured interviews with 3 educational management organization leaders and 5 urban charter school principals and reviewing archival company documents. Data analysis involved coding and theming significant phrases and emerging patterns related to successful collaborative leadership practices until reaching data saturation. The emerging themes revealed included collaborative practices; academic achievement; implementation to change; school improvement; professional development; compliance and regulations; organizational culture, and community involvement. Findings from this case study resonated with Fiedler's contingency theory and indicated the significance of collaborative leadership practices. A significant positive social change implication is that the awareness of collaborative leadership practices in low-performing K-12 urban charter schools can enhance student academic achievement.