Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




Special Education, Ontario, Neoliberalism, Undermining student experience, performative equity, downloading responsibility


My positionality as a critical scholar frames the problem of practice. The POP discusses a lack of transparency stemming from a longstanding hierarchy of influence from the ministry of education to local school boards and then to individual schools. A political, economic and social analysis frames the organizational context which impacts my role and agency within the organization. The organization’s worldview, tied to the ministry’s worldview, undermines student experience, as does both organization’s leadership approach. Using a critical bureaucracy and anti-oppressive theory, this organizational improvement plan investigates the physical and bureaucratic barriers that undermine special education student experience. Critical theory supports the leadership approach to change due to my agency. There is a tethering of neoliberalism, bureaucracy, and ableism that all intersect in this organizational improvement plan. The framework for leading the change process uses the zone of mediation as a framework for change. The leadership and humility change model is used to propel change as it aligns with the theoretical framing of this organization improvement plan. This organizational improvement plan uses an adapted community analysis model to assess readiness for change. Three options to address solutions to the POP are investigated with a preferred solution, an equity audit, selected. As a change facilitator, the support for change will be explored through servant, transformative and advocacy leadership theories. The change implementation plan uses a spiral of inquiry to monitor the change process, and communicating the change process occurs through tailoring messages to the various audience, aligning with the servant-leadership approach.

Keywords: neoliberalism, critical bureaucracy theory, anti-oppressive theory, leadership and humility change model, servant-leadership, transformational-leadership, advocacy-leadership, special education