Creating an Institutional Legacy

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership


Department of Educational Administration


Matthew Witenstein


This study, grounded in phenomenological action research, was a collaboration among various stakeholders in my organization. The organization is rooted in the Quaker values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship. Developed around these values, Cotton's love-centered model for navigating in moments of doubt is designed to strengthen collaboration and improve trust in the way members of a leadership team communicate while encouraging commitment to finding solutions to challenges by creating roadmaps that are responsive to crises. This study addressed the collaborative breakdown that occurred during the initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stakeholders engaged in the framework by participating in a 4-day leadership retreat, during which they took part in focus group discussions, interviews, individual surveys, and collaborative observation activities. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected and analyzed. The data revealed unexpected results, which shifted the focus of the study to development of an action plan for the organization. The results suggested that team members had developed into skilled crisis managers and dramatically improved their trust and collaboration. My developmental process for instituting changes focused on improving the health of the institution while creating an institutional legacy. The stakeholders are the foundation of the institution, and I used the mezzo method of developmental progress, which involves principles and processes through which small groups can develop harmonious and productive relationships to build capacity for organizational improvement by building on the implicate and micro method. The plan focuses on four pillars of stakeholder engagement and training: (a) conflict resolution, (b) communication, (c), understanding the school's identity as a Friends school, and (d) managing financial stability and growth of financial resources.


Communication, Education, Educational Leadership, School Administration, School Finance, Sustainability, Leadership Collaboration Cotton's Love Centered Leadership Model Legacy DEI Friends Education Conflict Management School Leadership School Identity Financial Sustainability

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