Publication Date

Spring 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




Kathleen McConnell


critical spirituality, education, restorative practices, spiritual, spiritual leadership

Subject Areas

Educational leadership


Public institutions are finding that strict policies premised on value-free research are incapable of dealing with the social and ethical issues facing schools. Increasingly, research is identifying how spiritual practices can be a source of insight and guidance on ethical issues and other soft leadership skills. Spiritual and servant leadership is a burgeoning area of study in the business world and health care field, but it just beginning to be examined as a guiding tool in the education field. In the current study, I interview educational leaders who self-identify as having a spiritual practice and who are responsible for oversight of personnel and student policy, as well as for forming connections to social equity and community building. The project will review spiritual leadership and critical spirituality theories and how educational leaders incorporate that spirituality into their practices when making ethical decisions. Research questions addressed in the current study include a review of spiritual leadership models and a review of specific spiritual principles that guide educational leaders and how they apply those principles to the promotion of social justice, generating a sense of connectedness, and building a sense of community within their organization. Finally, the study considers what situations prompt educational leaders to look beyond policy and procedure for additional ethical guidance. Conclusions indicate that interviewees utilize various methods of spiritual practices to make decisions in the absence of policy.