Educational leadership is challenging, complex, and vitally important to student success. Despite the publication of theories, books, and research on school leadership, a perception of a chasm between theory and practice exists. However, the intentional consideration and implementation of theory can make an enormous impact on practice. This is revealed in this dissertation through the exploration of invitational leadership theory through an autoethnographic study of my leadership journey, as well as the intentionally inviting leadership of Billy Tate, a veteran school principal in Belfast, Northern Ireland. This dissertation uses an amalgamated methodology of interview and observational research embedded within an autoethnography to intimately explore invitational theory in practice through the lens of a new school principal in Southern Ontario and a veteran principal in Belfast. This study provides an intimate understanding of the impact and applicability of invitational educational leadership theory in two unique educational, political, and social contexts and draws conclusions from the consideration of and reflection upon my leadership and Billy Tate’s. This dissertation reveals invitational leadership as a theory of practice that has significantly influenced two very different school leaders and posits that invitational theory is a theory of practice worthy of consideration by educational leaders from around the world.
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