Distributed Integrated Leadership: An Analysis of High-Performing Elementary Schools in Low-Income Communities

Jordan David Simons, Fordham University


Since the advent of the standardized movement in education, there has been a plethora of research pertaining to the characteristics of successful schools. Even more so, studies have consistently been trying to investigate if there is a proverbial gold standard of what encompasses successful school improvement in low-income communities serving minority students. Complementary to this endeavor, types of school leadership have also been examined to see if there are common trends and themes for school leaders within the studied communities. In the past thirty years, three leadership types have been marked as influential: instructional, transformational, and distributed leadership. This mixed-methods case study attempted to look at these leadership types in an interconnected fashion, by amalgamating instructional and transformational leadership as one construct (i.e., integrated leadership; Marks & Printy, 2003) and using distributed leadership as a process variable—thus showcasing how distributed leadership actualizes an integrated leadership model. Two high-performing elementary schools in New York City, residing in predominately low-income minority communities, were purposely selected. Using a reconceptualized survey, the Distributed Integrated Leadership Survey (DILS), as well as qualitative factors (i.e., open-ended responses, public records), this study had the following overarching goals: to investigate the degree to which integrated and distributed leadership manifest within the studied schools and to gauge the relationship between distributed leadership and an integrated model. Quantitative and qualitative results from this study elicited that successful school leadership is not a monolithic construct, but rather an amalgamation of motivational, instructional, and distributed factors.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Education|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Simons, Jordan David, "Distributed Integrated Leadership: An Analysis of High-Performing Elementary Schools in Low-Income Communities" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30815754.