Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Doctor of Education




Bishop, Pam


As society increases its expectations of education systems, school leaders are required to adapt their leadership practices to meet these demands. The province of Ontario has focused on establishing a framework for its educational leaders, The Ontario Leadership Framework (Institute for Education Leadership, 2013) to help communicate and support a coherent leadership structure in its public schools. For school leaders to be able to meet the provincial expectations, they need to be supported at the district level by superintendents who build and maintain strong relationships based on trust so that the school leaders can maximize change to educator practice, and positively influence student achievement and socioemotional wellbeing. This research used an exploratory case study to investigate how and why superintendents build and maintain trust in their relationships with school principals. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the director of a school district, six school superintendents, and six elementary and secondary school principals, all working in Ontario, Canada. This allowed the three participant groups to describe their relationships through the lenses of trust and high trust; how the level of trust within those relationships influenced their leadership practices and behaviours. Data were probed using a modified version of constant comparative analysis and triangulation sought for validity purposes. The research findings revealed the intricate tapestry of the complex nature of building and maintaining trust in relationships between educational leaders. Recommendations for the district’s educational leaders and for future research are also suggested as part of the information gleaned from the participants of this study.