AN EXAMINATION OF THE LEVEL OF LEADERSHIP KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS OF SCHOOL DISTRICT SPECIAL EDUCATION COORDINATORS
Gurley, Susan A
Burke, Philip J
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The purpose of this study was to examine the level of leadership knowledge and skills of district special education coordinators in a school system that serves a large number of parents serving in the military. Using the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) six professional standards, special education administrators ranked how essential the CEC identified knowledge and skills are to their everyday performance on the job. CEC Standards for leadership knowledge and skills were ranked as to how essential they were to day-to-day needs on the job in support of students with disabilities. This study also explored the relationship among teachers, administrators, and special education coordinators on what they identify as essential to their day-to-day job performance. All respondents provided a self-assessment of their perceived level of knowledge and skills by completing an on-line web-based survey yielding a return rate of 81.5%. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected for this study. After investigating the perceived ratings and the ranking of essential levels of the CEC standards, it was found that coordinators viewed all six standards as essential and ranked their highest level of competency as Program Development and Organization. Coordinators ranked themselves as least knowledgeable in terms of Evaluation. Coordinators identified Program Development and Organization as the most essential skill to day-to-day performance and viewed Research and Inquiry as the least essential skill to daily performance. There was no significant difference among the coordinators on their perceived level of competency across the geographic regions of the system. The degree to which the ratings of essential skills matched among the coordinators, teachers, and administrators revealed both coordinators and teachers viewed Program Development as more essential to day-to-day job performance whereas administrators indicated Leadership and Policy and Program Development were the two most essential standards for serving students with disabilities in the school. The standard reported as least essential to the day-to-day performance of serving students with disabilities was Evaluation.