Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education


This qualitative study examines how principals' leadership qualities influence effective elementary inclusion programs. Guiding questions address principals' perceptions of the beliefs, knowledge, and behaviors essential to leadership in an inclusive school. Sites for this study were three fully included elementary schools (no self-contained classes) in southwest Ohio. Data collection methods included semi-structured interviews, observations, shadowing, and document review. The conceptual framework of relational leadership, particularly the attributes of caring, collaboration, courage, vision, and intuition organized the study. Findings illustrated that the principals believe relational leadership is necessary for the success of inclusive learning communities; they make collaborative, proactive leadership by teachers and others a fundamental part of their school renewal efforts.