Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kathryn Swetnam


Inclusive education programs exist in public schools to provide equitable education opportunities for all students, including students with disabilities. However, the processes for administrators to implement change toward inclusive classrooms and achieve program sustainability remain unclear. The purpose of this exploratory qualitative case study was to investigate campus administrators’ perceptions concerning challenges and facilitators that influence the implementation and continuation of inclusion practices and their roles in initiating change. An integration of Fullan and Quinn’s coherence framework and Lewin’s 3-step change model was the conceptual lens for the study. Research questions were focused on how administrators view aspects that hinder or influence implementation of inclusion practices. Data were collected from 11 elementary and middle school principals during individual semistructured interviews. The data were analyzed using a cyclical coding process, which included a priori, open, and pattern coding. The results were aligned with the conceptual framework. The findings indicated that an environment including intentional learning, effective leadership, investment in human capital, and collective responsibility is needed to sustain the implementation of inclusive practices. It is recommended that district personnel explore the ideals identified in this study to provide principals with relevant and reflective learning opportunities to develop skills to support change initiatives and to lead staff in inclusion efforts; the latter includes more learning about special education. Positive social change may result from the findings of this study that inform an establishment of reflective practices, continuous learning and development programs, and procedures for inclusion implementation that address equity issues concerning educational opportunities of students with disabilities.