Date Dissertation Completed


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education


Education Studies

Dissertation Advisor

Raymond Martinez

Dissertation Committee Members

Raymond Martinez, Meghan Sinning, Steven Baule


Winona, Minnesota


Rural school principals faced many challenges through the disruptions of the Covid-19 Pandemic, including their ability to deliver consistent, high-quality education to rural learners. These principals had to quickly learn and adapt to new practices that could permanently transform the school principalship for the future. Principals’ duties multiplied overnight with focusing on the additional needs of students and staff. Although the field of education has been majorly disrupted through past events such as the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, which caused school principals’ priorities to change instantaneously, with decisions often being made on a reactionary basis to ever-changing circumstances. The impact was neither as great nor long-lasting compared to the Covid-19 Pandemic. This study explores the rural school leader through the time of the Covid-19 Pandemic, utilizing the experiences and perspectives of principals and certified staff. The researcher utilized 20 pairings of data within the research, emulating a 360-degree focus between administrator and staff member. Overall, the research found that the following were more prevalent during the pandemic than prior: principal’s communication with students and their families, principal’s communication with staff, principal’s communication with the school nurse, and principal’s communication with other leaders. Additionally, it was found that the following were more prevalent during the pandemic than prior: principal’s awareness of the personal needs of students and their families, and principal’s awareness of the personal needs of staff.



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