Journal of Educational Leadership in Action


This qualitative phenomenological study aimed to explore high school principals’ perceptions of how a supportive environment, strong family-community ties, and trust assist educational leaders in improving the culture within their schools. Participants of this study included 15 high school principals in the New York City Department of Education’s public schools. Data were captured through virtual interviews, where all participants were asked the same questions and analyzed through themes and codes. The three research questions that guided this study included how principals perceive creating a positive school culture by (a) improving the supportive environment; (b) improving strong family-community ties; and (c) building trust. The four themes that emerged from this study are relationships, communication, evidence, and challenges. Analyzing the principal’s responses, a positive school culture is defined as developing authentic relationships through communication to support each other for one common purpose. This study adds to the body of research by defining how high school principals can influence a student's educational experiences, which are critical turning points leading to adulthood. Future research should include quantitative and qualitative studies to identify how accurately the NYC Annual School Survey relates to principals' perceptions. Further qualitative research should focus on the connection between central employees’ perceptions of their role in school support versus principals' perceptions of how the central office supports them.


Manakshi Panindranauth, Ed.D., holds a doctorate in educational leadership, research, and innovation from Concordia University, Wisconsin. Dr. Panindranauth is an educator with over ten years of experience at a school and central level. She empowered families to become partners in their children’s lives, collaborated with leadership teams on different levels to support families, and inspired students to reach their highest potential. Her passion is to develop a positive school culture to improve students’ experiences.



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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.