Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Donna Gibson

Second Advisor

Abigail Conley

Third Advisor

Donna Dockery

Fourth Advisor

Colette Dollarhide


All school counselors are expected to serve as leaders and advocates in their school communities. However, many are underprepared for the work after they complete graduate-level training. The present study explored the experiences of district- level school counseling supervisors in facilitating leadership development with professional school counselors. District-level supervisors are ideally placed to support school counselors in their leadership development and advocacy work. Through a semi- structured interview process, eight district-level school counseling supervisors provided information about their leadership development experiences. Data analysis yielded four themes in this descriptive phenomenological study involving social justice, role advocacy, barriers to effective leadership, and leadership perspective. The themes are described in detail along with identity descriptors that emerged during the data collection process. Discussion of these themes contextualizes the findings within the scholarship of school counselor leadership. Implications for graduate training and post- graduate leadership development suggest opportunities to improve alignment with best practice expectations of the profession. The discussion of findings also includes recommendations for future research about district-level school counseling supervisors engaged in leadership development work with professional school counselors.


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