Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jeanne Surface


Emotional intelligence is a crucial and key ingredient of great leadership and can be seen as a transformational part of leadership that can bring unparalleled leader, member, and organizational success. While a plethora of research and data exists on emotional intelligence, deficiencies in evidence exist to understand the relevance in school district leadership. A particularly vulnerable group of leadership is the Superintendents in school districts with an enrollment of less than 3,000 students. This is because the Superintendent is still very hands on the everyday management of staff and faculty but also has many challenges that are different than other sizes of schools that require a high degree of E.I. to meet those challenges (Moore, 2009). School Districts in Nebraska have a variety of challenges based on socioeconomic, geographic location, budget cuts, student needs, a pandemic, and the availability of resources. Therefore, the purpose of this quantitative study will be to explore the distribution of emotional intelligence in leadership for public school Superintendents in Nebraska in school districts with 3,000 or less students using the Emotional Competence Inventory. The decision to use Superintendents in districts of less than 3,000 students is to ensure the leadership expectations are similar. Contemporary findings suggest that EI can be learned or trained. Since Sadri (2012) suggests that leaders high in EI can recognize, appraise, predict and manage emotions in a way that enables them to work with and motivate team members. It supports Sadri (2012) who suggests that practitioners interested and involved in developing leaders not attempt to improve all five EI competencies in the same training program, but rather consider developing one or more of the competencies identified here as integrating with past research in leadership development (self-awareness, self regulation, empathy and social skills) as stand-alone competencies and provide training to participants who lack the requisite skills on an as-needed basis.


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