Acknowledgements

There are several people whom I would like to thank for their contribution to this dissertation. First, I would like to thank my wife Stefanie for her unwavering support in what has been a very demanding doctoral program. Thank you for believing in me and in our vision for our future together with our family. To Nina, although you will not remember the sacrifices that you have made during this time I will. I will forever value the time that we have together and hope that skill-centered, goal-driven education will always be one of your priorities. To my mother, grandmother, and sister, thank you for instilling in me a belief in education as a basic value. It has served as a vehicle to improve the lives of our families in all the ways that we expected. In that vein, my gratitude is also extended to my uncle, brother, and brother-in-law for supporting and directing me towards a path guided by higher education. The cycle is broken and next year is now.

My appreciation to Dr. Bernard Oliver for his support and guidance throughout this program. He offered his ear and help in ways that I did not expect from a professor. The cliché above and beyond is completely appropriate when thinking of his dedication and support. I am truly grateful for his belief in me. This dissertation is not the end of how I will be able to use the lessons I learned from him. In fact, it is the beginning. I will spend the rest of my career working to serve the needs of students who are underserved.

I would also like to thank Dr. Linda Eldridge for her lessons and support. It was a pleasure to learn from someone who could demonstrate poise and kindness in our classes no matter the circumstance. She was incredibly valuable in showing me how these traits contribute significantly to an administrator’s professional development, as those are the characteristics for which stakeholders in schools will remember you. I will continue to seek to develop these traits in my own character in both my personal and professional lives.

Finally, to Dr. Ritzhaupt and Dr. Townsend. Thank you for the unbiased feedback from the qualifying exams through the dissertation process. I appreciate your objectivity and openmindedness as you learned about my experiences, goals, and research interests.