Leadership in Early Childhood Special Education




Arora, Samita Berry

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



With the demands of high quality early childhood special education programs within public school settings, there is a need to place emphasis on research and training regarding early childhood leaders and managers in this complex and diverse field. The focus of this research is to examine what early childhood special education (ECSE) leadership looks like in a public school setting. This study is important in order to gain a better understanding of the complex demands placed on early childhood special education leaders, and to examine the practice, education, and personal factors that influence decision making by early childhood special education leaders. Along the way, I aspire to fill in the research gap on early childhood special education leaders in public school settings. Specifically, I utilize the three leadership practices Leithwood and Riehl (2003) identify as relating to effective school leadership and integrate these with the five leadership dimensions suggested by Robinson, Lloyd, and Rowe (2008) to better understand if early childhood special education leaders display the leadership characteristics advocated in the literature. Using multiple sources of data collection allowed me to investigate ECSE leaders in a real-life context. I used interviews, observations, and document analysis as sources of evidence to draw conclusions from the data that I collected. The findings of this study reveal that ECSE teachers' perceptions of their ECSE leaders' leadership behaviors are different from those of the ECSE leaders themselves. The behaviors observed and reported are those of management not leadership.



Early Childhood Special Education, Leadership, Early childhood