Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Irma Harper

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Karen Maxwell

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Mark Weatherly


Preparing students for life after high school is a challenge faced by all K-12 educators. In small, rural school districts, school leaders encounter unique barriers and limitations due to the limited capacity of school counselors, geographic isolation, lack of resources, and other factors. The purpose of this qualitative, multiple case study was to explore the district-wide strategies utilized by rural school districts in West Central Texas to increase the career, college and military readiness (CCMR) of all students. Five cases were identified that met the criteria, which included being a rural district defined by TEA, a school administrator responsible for CCMR, and within the geographical boundaries of Region 14 Education Service Center. Participants completed a preliminary questionnaire, an initial interview, and a follow-up interview. Data collection and analysis revealed both barriers and advantages that rural students and school districts face in preparing for life after high school. Participants spoke extensively on the impact of factors such as student outcomes, individualization, rural related factors, and leadership supports as they relate to CCMR. The findings of the study provided details of many CCMR strategies utilized by rural school districts, and how rural school leaders determined the effectiveness of these strategies. The findings also revealed that rural school administrators in West Central Texas prioritized supporting the individual student and providing as many opportunities as possible to reduce barriers to success.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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