Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Administration and Supervision

First Advisor's Name

Dr. Peter J. Cistone

First Advisor's Committee Title

Major Professor

Second Advisor's Name

Dr. Delia C. Garcia

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Dr. Thomas G. Reio

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Dr. Linda Spears-Bunton

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member


leadership, servant-leadership, authentic servant-leader, early childhood education, child advocate, educational politics, educational policy, educational leaders, exemplary leadership, public education, traits of exemplary leader

Date of Defense



Advocacy and leadership style are essential concepts in education. This qualitative case study was undertaken to demonstrate how Robert K. Greenleaf’s servant-leadership framework could be a useful framework to adopt by educational leaders and child advocates. Servant-leadership identifies the needs of others as a primary goal of leadership. The study contributes to understanding the value of exemplary servant-leadership and advocacy in public education as demonstrated by David Lawrence Jr. The researcher addressed questions regarding how Lawrence embodies servant-leadership traits and explored how a servant-leader has been positively influencing early childhood public educational policy in Florida to benefit all children.

There were 16 interviews conducted with individuals from four interest groups in Florida: business leaders, political leaders, local South Florida leaders and educational leaders. In addition, data were gathered by observing and interviewing Lawrence. His speeches and other archival documents were also analyzed. The findings illustrated the ten traits of the servant-leadership framework and identified five additional traits modeled by Lawrence that have contributed to his influence on public educational policy.

A paradigm shift from authoritarian leadership to an authentic servant-leadership style that advocates for young children and promotes the importance of early childhood educational policy. The dichotomy examined throughout this research focused on servant-leadership and advocacy that is instrumental to make a difference in education as an educational leader navigates through political agendas. Lawrence leads a “Children’s Movement” in Florida that includes an ongoing bi-partisan individuals movement that has changed early childhood education in Florida. The findings of this investigation validate that servant-leadership framework could influence the transformation of public education.





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