Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Jiangang Xia

Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Education, Major: Educational Administration (P-12 System-Level Educational Leadership), Under the Supervision of Professor Jiangang Xia. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2021

Copyright © 2021 Wendy Kemling-Horner


School climate is the perceptions and attitudes that are evoked by a school’s environment and affects every aspect of the school surroundings. Therefore, it is essential that principals have the resources they need to positively affect the climate in their buildings. In fact, a positive school climate has been linked to not only the achievement of students, but also the satisfaction and retention of the school staff. A positive school climate does not come easily; instead, it is the result of significant devotion to the school’s safety, disciplinary environment, and the relationships between constituents.

District leaders have a strong desire to have a positive school climate in each of their buildings. They know that, when given the right supports, principals can make the necessary adjustments to their school climate. Unfortunately, resources are in great demand and are scarce. Therefore, it is essential that district leaders know which resources most influence the climate.

This study is a quantitative, multilevel analysis that utilizes the data from the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) from 2018 which was developed by the Organisation for Co-operation and Development (OECD) to analyze the organizational supports which can assist the principal in improving the school’s climate. The results indicate that through the development of principals, principal autonomy is increased, and school climate is improved. This finding encourages district leaders to support the structures and mechanisms needed to attract principals to professional development opportunities. In addition, the results indicate that through the provision of resources, teacher student relations and school climate are improved. Conclusions, limitations, and recommendations for further research are also discussed.

Advisor: Jiangang Xia