Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-13-2023


The pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has impacted the educational landscape in unbelievable ways. The changes to the learning environment in schools required leaders to obtain and exercise different competencies. New Mexico charter leaders are leading in the new normal of public education. With the additional roles, requirements, and expectations brought on by the pandemic, leaders cannot return to their prior leadership practices. The purpose of this qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological study was to understand and give voice to the lived experiences of NM charter leaders working through the COVID-19 pandemic. The narrative of the participants highlighted four major themes: charter leadership, reinventing school, communication, and social emotional. Situational leadership provided the theoretical framework for the study and traits were present in the rich descriptions of the participants’ characteristics and behaviors. Crisis management and communication were exhibited by participants as part of their practices leading through the pandemic. The data collected in this study supported the uniqueness of charter leadership as well as revealed the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings from this study suggest that leaders must be flexible, supportive, understanding, courageous, and humble, especially when navigating a crisis. Recommended topics for future research included: expanding this study to include teacher, student, families, and community perspectives on how charter leadership navigated the pandemic; and expanding to charter leaders nationwide.


Charter leadership, COVID-19, pandemic, situational leadership, crisis management, phenomenology

Document Type




Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Allison Borden

Second Committee Member

Dr. Arlie Woodrum

Third Committee Member

Dr. Trenia Walker

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Frank Perrone