|dc.description.abstract||Given the evolution of the principal's role and the current accountability system,
principals are expected act in primary oversight of programming for student with disabilities.
However, such expectations assume principals possess the core skills, knowledge, and
dispositions necessary when navigating complex decision-making for students with
disabilities. To meet the demands of a complex leadership role, principals must not only attend
to the legal context, but are responsible to act as moral agents, providing the ethical leadership
necessary to support the formation of an ethical school setting for all students.
This qualitative study, conducted in two member districts of a special education
Interlocal located in Kansas, sought to explore how seven principals navigated the ethical
dilemmas associated with special education that exist beyond the legal context. Through the
perspectives of consequentialism, deontology, virtue ethics (Northouse, 2015), and care ethics
(Held, 2006; Noddings, 2013), principals' moral and political stories with regard to their
leadership for special education were examined. With particular attention to participants'
description of their aims, actions, and motivation in association with their leadership for special
education, a primary perspective with heavy emphasis on respect, care, nurturing, and
relationship emerged. Highlighted were participants' primary process of cultivating a climate
where all people matter, a focus on people first, a moral commitment to look beyond the rules,
rigor, and regulation, and a primary motivation to cultivate support and promote unity though
shared leadership. A final, yet important conclusion highlighted principals' acute awareness of
the rhetoric and the realities, and their concerns regarding diminished opportunity to fully
advance their leadership for all from a care perspective.||