Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Education Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. John B. Nash


The topic of creativity in schools is increasing in popularity with many recent initiatives taking place emphasizing 21st century skills or the arts. Business literature has indicated the work environment influences worker creativity as well as identified managers as having influence over the work environment. While educational research supports the influence of the principal over the school environment, little research has specifically examined the role of the principal concerning creativity in schools.

The aim of the study was to illuminate the role of the principal in fostering creativity by examining the attributes and actions as self-reported by the principal and to gather the perspective of the teachers in the school. A guiding framework was created through combining business literature about creativity and the work environment with education literature concerning the principal's influence on the environment. A single-case, mixed-methods study was selected to examine how one international elementary school principal sought to cultivate a school culture and climate where creativity can thrive. Data sources included in-depth interviews with the principal, document collection, observations, individual interviews with three other stakeholders, a teacher survey, and teacher focus groups.

Analysis revealed a holistic understanding of the principal's attributes and actions concerning a creative culture and climate in the school as well as the teacher's perceptions. Three types of attributes were identified: Personal, Core Educational Beliefs, and Vision for the School. The themes for the first attribute, Personal, were Personal Experiences, Whole Child Emphasis, and Attitudes and Outlooks. The themes for the second attribute, Core Educational Beliefs, included Creativity is Important, People are Important, Growth is Important. The themes for the third attribute, Vision for the School, were Common Expectations for All and Goal Oriented. Concerning the teachers’ perspectives regarding the principal, her actions resulted in them feeling Respected, Supported, and Empowered. The findings provide implications for both future research and current practioners.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)