Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Stacy Wahl


Early childhood (EC) administrators could be the most important contributors to quality experiences in EC settings; they are also responsible for the caliber of experiences for children and staff. A quality EC program is licensed and accredited with administrators who have professional preparation and work experience and can lead and manage EC programs. There are the few direct educational paths to become an EC administrator. This lack of standardization influences the quality of leadership and organizational climate in EC settings. The purpose of this qualitative study as reflected in the research questions was to explore the experiences of EC administrators regarding their educational paths, their views of themselves as transformational leaders, and the influence of their leadership on their organizational climate. Prior research on the subject of leadership practices in EC suggests that Burns' transformational leadership is most beneficial, but this leadership style has not been explored in detail in EC settings. This phenomenological study included interviews of six EC administrators about their educational paths, their views as transformational leaders, and how their leadership influenced the organizational climate in their setting. Data were analyzed for themes that emerged. Findings suggested the need for streamlined undergraduate and graduate coursework. Implications for positive social change are the potential for improved quality of programs and for the support needed for early childhood leadership.