Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences

First Advisor

Norma L. Hafenstein, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Patricia L. Kipp

Third Advisor

Paul Michalec, Ph.D.


Principals, Gifted and talented, Program, Knowledge-base, Advocacy, Site-based


The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of elementary principals’ knowledge-base and advocacy on gifted and talented (GT) programming within their school in a site-based district. This study sought to understand principals’ knowledge-base, acquisition of knowledge, and advocacy behaviors in an effort to support principals in the future to better understand and support GT programming within their schools. The research questions which guided this study were: How does the knowledge-base of a principal impact gifted and talented programming within his or her school? How does the advocacy behaviors of a principal impact gifted and talented programming within his or her school? How do principals acquire knowledge about gifted programming?

This study utilized a mixed methods approach incorporating an anonymous Internet survey and six semi-structured interviews with current elementary principals in Colorado. Results from this study suggested participants possessed a limited knowledge-base around gifted education leading to limited and inconsistent school-based programming. Their knowledge-base was impacted by their teacher and principal preparation programs and the lack of education they received on gifted evidence- and research-based practices. Results from this study further suggested participants’ demonstrated limited if any advocacy behaviors for their schools’ gifted program. Although the data collected through this study cannot be generalized to the larger population, the researcher feels these results can still be useful within specific contexts and to move the field of gifted education forward.

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