Publication Date

Spring 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




Arnold Danzig


Educational Leadership, High School, Principal, Relational Trust, Secondary Education, Trust

Subject Areas

Educational leadership


The 2013 adoption of the Local Control Funding Formula and Local Control Accountability Plan provides local communities and districts with educational decision-making and provides a roadmap of how to improve outcomes in low-performing districts. One of the eight-priority areas California public school districts are held accountable to make progress on an annual basis is improving school climate. Building strong trust based relationships prepares schools to address a myriad of complex challenges. This dissertation examined the key facets that build relational trust between high school teachers and principals within a hierarchical role relationship in a public comprehensive high school district in Northern California. This mixed methods study stretched previous research to understand how secondary principals and teachers conceptualize relational trust. Survey and one-on-one interview data suggest gender, ethnicity, and years of experience are not significantly related to the conceptualization of relational trust and that high school teachers largely feel the same way, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or years of experience. Of note, principals and high school teachers may view the importance of the five facets of relational trust in a dissimilar manner. Principals are encouraged to understand that 10 out of 11 high school teacher groups, while also recognizing that past experiences have a profound influence on the trust building process, ranked reliability as the most important facet in the trust building process.