Preparing for Change: An Analysis of How Education Leaders Plan and Execute Systemic Change for Improved Outcomes in Education

Date

2023-08

Authors

Ridgeway, Cristina Lizette

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Abstract

Change is a constant. At the same time, change can be hard for everyone involved. How do change leaders do it well? In this research study, I explored the planning and execution of state-level change initiatives within the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) strategic plan. I designed my study to identify and uncover the strategies change initiative leaders at the TEA employed in leading large-scale change efforts in K-12 education. I used a phenomenological approach, combining Schein’s (2010) model of change/learning and Kotter’s (1996) theory of change, viewed through the lens of a crosswalk framework. The use of phenomenology allowed me to document and describe my participants’ lived experiences, resulting in actionable findings for future state leaders. I incorporated my own autoethnographic field notes to provide an insider’s view and enhance the understanding of the change processes used. By conducting interviews with six change initiative leaders and analyzing them for thematic trends, I identified a number of common themes and processes, including intentionality of planning, leveraging past experiences, fostering collective learning, and involving early partners, to name a few. Additionally, the results highlighted the importance of stakeholder engagement, continuous analysis and adjustment, and qualities like humility, vulnerability, and lead learning for successful change leaders. My findings provide valuable insights for change leaders on how to plan for, approach, and lead statewide change initiatives. The findings have practical implications for organizations facing similar challenges, emphasizing the need for stakeholder involvement, flexibility, and a culture of continuous improvement. The research has significant implications for leaders in Texas and other states related to the development or revision of policies, procedures, and practices for planning change initiatives. It also serves as a valuable resource for those responsible for leading systemwide change efforts and provides a foundation for future research. Based on the findings, recommendations for change initiative leaders, organizations planning change, and future research are also provided.

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Keywords

planning change, change management, leading change, change initiative leaders, Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education, and School Psychology

Citation

Ridgeway, C. L. (2023). Preparing for change: An analysis of how education leaders plan and execute systemic change for improved outcomes in education (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.

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