Angela Wanzek

Date of Award

January 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Pauline Stonehouse


An ethnographic case study was used to examine roles of a principal in implementing and maintaining positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) in one North Dakota elementary school. Observations, school documents, and semi-structured interviews were analyzed to identify the role of a principal. Skinner’s reinforcement theory and Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological systems theory served as

theoretical frameworks.

Research indicates a trend in the increase of PBIS in schools across the country. A

need remains to identify the role of elementary principals utilizing PBIS in North Dakota

elementary schools. Certified and classified staff were interviewed to examine their

perspectives on the role of an elementary school principal.

Eight themes emerged with one common theme being the most significant:

communication. Themes developed into three assertions that expanded upon

collaborative professionalism to innovate and improve PBIS for principals across North


Keywords: principals, positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS),

ethnography, ethnographic studies, leadership, school culture.