Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

James P. Biddix

Committee Members

Mary L. Derrington, Lisa L. Driscoll, Sedonna J. Prater


Catholic school principal effectiveness has been studied for years, along with the retention and attrition rates of Catholic school principals. Throughout the long history of Catholic education in the United States and around the world, there has not been a meaningful study of how the different governance models available to Catholic schools affect these school leaders. Through this explanatory sequential mixed methods research study, connections between different governance models and interactions with religious authority figures and offices and principal job satisfaction, retention, and attrition were evaluated. Results will allow current and future principals to be more informed concerning the best practices within each model. It will also allow Church authorities, including bishops who place pastors at parishes with schools and pastors who hire new principals, to have the best hiring practices and policies to find and retain long-term candidates, creating stability and student success for years to come.

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