This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Educational Leadership, Sustainability and Independent Schools




Mehaffey, John

Type of Degree



Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


Green schools are healthy, high performing schools that address ecological, economic, and equity concerns. Independent schools are institutions that “consistently aspire to instill in graduates such qualities as good citizenship, moral integrity, leadership, critical thinking, and indeed, care for the environment” (Calder, 1998, p. 215). Educational leaders within the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) were chosen as the population of this study because of the diversity in levels of sustainability initiatives within their schools. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships among independent school leaders’ attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control about green school practices and their intentions of implementing these practices in their school. The understanding of this relationship will provide a foundation for continued exploration of the impact educational leaders have on promoting green school practices. Hopefully, this study will incite future research that will produce information that would help develop and strengthen K–12 leadership programs. The Theory of Planned Behavior served as the theoretical framework for this study (Ajzen, 1991). Results indicate that attitude, perceived behavioral control and subjective norms all contributed significantly to explain current behaviors. Results also indicate attitudes and perceived behavioral control contributed significantly to explaining planned and behaviors. According to the data, educational leaders reported the following constructs as having the highest influence over the degree to which they believe implementing green school practices in their school are important respective to attitudes (behavioral beliefs and outcome beliefs): making the planet healthier, conserving energy and other resources, making school buildings a healthier learning environment for students, conserving energy and other resources, modeling for students how to live more sustainability, managing the school in a way that makes the buildings healthier learning environments and saving money over the long term (more than three years). Respective to subjective norms (normative beliefs and motivation to comply) educational leaders report that the National Association of Independent Schools, teachers, students, other heads of school, board of trustees and parents influence the degree to which they believe implementing green school practices in their school are important. Respective to perceived behavioral control (control beliefs and perceived power) educational leaders report that administrative team support, business office support, access to green school information, support from the board of trustees, the funding for green school initiatives and time influence the degree to which they believe they can implement green school practices at their school.