Conducting the Symphony: How a School District Superintendent Uses Complexity Theory for Creative Leadership




Ruiz-Mills, Monica

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The analogy of an orchestral conductor is applicable to the ways in which a school district superintendent orchestrates ways to move away from long-standing practices within the educational system. Like a conductor, the superintendent works with an audience of multiple stakeholders while navigating multiple elements that affect teaching and learning. In this qualitative research study, using educational criticism and connoisseurship, I explored how a Texas school district superintendent employed creative leadership in his management of school systems while striving for change and growth. I modified an ecology framework using the areas of instructional support, school structures, administration, and the internal and external school community. I used interviews, observations, and existing artifacts as sources for data collection to make meaning of the superintendent’s actions and decision-making process. Results showed the superintendent used creativity in his everyday approaches to situations and his actions contributed to the development of a complex and adaptive school system. The research served as an inquiry of the school district superintendent as a catalyst for change within a complex adaptive school system. Results support that creative leadership can be a social interaction that is demonstrated daily by the interactions and decisions of the school district superintendent. Future research considerations include exploring a superintendent’s creative problem-solving efforts in daily decision-making and the influence on knowledge structures in real-world scenarios, and creative change leadership within the constructs of other leadership theories and fields.



Creativity, Creative leadership, Creativity, Complexity, Leadership, School district superintendent


Ruiz-Mills, M. (2019). <i>Conducting the symphony: How a school district superintendent uses complexity theory for creative leadership</i> (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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