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RESEARCH


key characteristics that contributed to the sustained-success reported during the Logan County takeover and to help develop recommendations and/or guidelines for future school takeovers. Interviews were conducted with individuals who were either impacted by the takeover or part of the takeover process itself. Secondary data was also used, consisting of reviewing state department data on the takeover to uncover what occurred in the Logan County takeover that supported a sustainable system.


Data Analysis Data analysis was conducted simultaneously with data collection, data interpretation, and narrative writing. The field information was collected, sorted into categories, formatted into a story, and written as a narrative text and visual representation of the story. As interview data was collected, this information was inserted as text coded by numbers to provide subject confidentiality, as well as for sorting. Data analysis was the process of reduction and interpretation. Using software and researcher guidance, voluminous amounts of information were reduced to certain patterns or dissected into categories and then interpreted to emerge as a larger, more consolidated and condensed picture of the takeover (Creswell, 1994). A continual collection and cross-referencing of data was ongoing throughout the process.


Sustainability Characteristics Characteristics that defined the sustained success of the school takeover in Logan County were identified in seven categories: (1) the removal of political infiltration or corruption, (2) establishment of a shared process/procedure (vision), (3) a shift in power from one level to a multiple levels of authority, (4) a change in organizational culture, (5) placement of the right people in the right positions, (6) establishment of channels of communication inside and outside of the organization, and (7) identification of the necessary leadership style, including matching styles of leaders with the needs of the organization. Each characteristic and description as well as the ranking established through coding (repetitions and patterns) during the interviews of each participant was then placed in a chart. A rank order was then assigned from the ranking data to build a prioritized list of the characteristics as related to importance during the stages of the takeover (see Chart 1 on the following page.)


Characteristic 1: Removal of Politics The role that politics played was evident as it was identified as a significant point in all three stages of the takeover. From the interviews, it was revealed that all of the participants interviewed identified politics as the reason that Logan County needed to be taken over and the removal of political groups was the reason the county achieved and sustained success by preventing the return of politics. One administrator revealed the following:


Spring 2011


Vol. 8 No. 1


Virginia Educational Leadership


81


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