Leading Through Crisis: A Case Study of Superintendent Leadership During Crisis
Cantrell, Steven Duane
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This case study examined the leadership skills utilized by two rural Oklahoma Superintendents to lead the Oologah-Talala (Oologah) School District through two crisis situations. The study also examined the affect these skills had in maintaining high levels of trust in the school, and a positive school climate. Finally, the study examined the theoretical framework characterized by the skills used by the superintendents to lead the school effectively through the crises. Dr. Keith Ballard was the superintendent of schools for Oologah in the spring of 1991. On April 26, 1991 at 9:44 p.m. an F-5 tornado barreled through the community of Oologah. The K-12 campus of Oologah Schools took a direct hit. The tornado damaged or destroyed all of the buildings on the campus and wiped out the entire school bus fleet. The school would not open back up until the fall of 1991. In 72 working days the school was back in session. Mr. Rick Thomas was the superintendent for Oologah in the Spring of 2010. On Wednesday, March 10, 2010 a case of Neisseria meningitidis (bacterial meningitis) was reported to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Within three days six more students were identified with the disease. School was dismissed on Thursday, March 11 at 12:00 p.m. to remove students from proximate contact with each other. On the afternoon of March 11, the lower elementary gymnasium was converted to a prophylactic medical clinic. Two Oologah students lost their lives as a result of the meningitis infection. The two superintendents were interviewed on two separate occasions. In addition, interviews were conducted with two school personnel who were employed by the district at the time of the crisis. The superintendent data were coded for the presence of themes, triangulated with the employee data, and the extensive artifact data.
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