First Advisor

Vogel, Linda

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Date Created



College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Leadership Policy and Development: Higher Education and P-12 Education, LPD Student Work


Alhudithi, Ahlam Abdullah. Experiences and Perspectives of International School Leaders: A Case Study from Saudi Arabia. Published Doctor of Education dissertation, University of Northern Colorado, 2020. International schools have become an important educational sector in the last two decades due to the dramatic growth of these schools. Yet, very few studies have been conducted worldwide regarding international schools' leadership even though the number of these schools is rapidly increasing each year. This study aimed to explore the experiences of school leaders at international schools in Saudi Arabia. The research question guided this study was the following: What are the experiences of leaders at international schools in Saudi Arabia from the perspective of those school leaders? In order to gain an understanding of the experiences of school leaders at international schools in Saudi Arabia, a qualitative embedded single-case study design was selected. The research context of this study was international schools in Saudi Arabia. The case study was international schools in the capital city, Riyadh. There were two embedded units of analysis within the case study, which were two K-12 international schools. The data collection occurred in two phases. The first phase included collecting surveys from 15 international schools in Riyadh. The second phase included collecting observations, interviews, and documents from two K-12 international schools that participated in the first phase. A thematic analysis revealed four themes related to school leaders' experiences and perspectives at international schools in Saudi Arabia. These themes were categorized under two factors: internal factors that include parental involvement, diversity, and recruitment and retention; external factors that include working with different agencies. The discussion highlighted the interaction between internal and external factors and how a single theme could impact students’ performance in school. Knowing the connections among these themes would help to recognize how issues could affect students learning. To improve the quality of education at international schools and to help school leaders overcome their challenges, recommendations were provided for school leaders and policymakers in Saudi Arabia.


155 pages

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