Districts of Innovation: An Action Research Narrative Inquiry Exploring Leadership, Sustainability and the Empowerment of Local Governance in a Rural Northeast Texas School District

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Summer 2018


The researcher explored empowerment, sustainability, and leadership pertaining to Texas’ District of Innovation designations. House Bill 1842, passed by the Texas Legislature in 2015, allowed qualifying districts to exempt certain sections of the Texas Education Code. The aim of these exemptions was to decentralize governance in order to strengthen local decision making and create an individualized plan to better meet the district’s needs and improve education for students within that district. The researcher designed a qualitative study of a rural east Texas district to frame decentralization as problem of practice with administrative perceptions as a means of understanding the events and interactions of those involved with the conception of the innovation plan for the district studied. She focused on administrators’ perceptions of establishing an innovation plan and how leadership traits affected accountability and service delivery. Six administrators from one rural district in North East Texas participated in the study. To determine their perceptions of the process or creating and implementing a plan of innovation, administrators participated in semi-structured interviews. Findings revealed trust, communication, and buy-in from the teachers and community as crucial to the implementation and sustainability of the plan. Administrator perception varied by campus as to depth of knowledge of the plan and how it impacted their respective campuses.


Nathan R Templeton

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision