Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Administration

Major Professor

Vincent Anfara

Committee Members

Ernest Brewer, Diana Moyer, Tricia McClam


In order to move successful school restructuring from the margins of educational dialogue to the center of the debate requires a detailed investigation into how these school reforms are created and sustained within the larger, current and historical educational context. This qualitative case study sought to understand how the small schools movement of school reform, as it was realized at the East Ridge Construction Academy, was able to overcome historical school reform barriers by engaging in systems thinking and forming and maintaining true learning organizations. This study was also designed to examine how remaining inside an existing system, rather than operating outside of it (i.e., charter schools, private schools), impacted the ability of East Ridge to meet its educational purposes. A theoretical framework based on the work of Sarason (2000) was used to focus the study’s design and the collection, analysis, and reporting of the findings in this study. By examining the particulars at the East Ridge Construction Academy we are able to assert certain conclusions about creating and sustaining a successful small school.

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