RESEARCH

Crosby DeWitt (CD) Stamps

In the summer of 1892, a young man by the name of Homer Plessy became part of a movement that would shift the landscape of race relations in America forever.  Plessy, in a deliberate act of civil disobedience, sat in the “whites only” section of the East Louisiana Railroad instead of the “colored” car of the train.  For his willful disobedience to the social norms of American society, Plessy was subsequently arrested.  This set of events in 1892 gave way to the landmark Supreme Court Plessy vs. Ferguson decision in 1896, in which the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled that separate but equal facilities would be the law of the land.  Two years following the Plessy decision, Crosby DeWitt Stamps took his first breaths as a newborn baby.  Much like the life of Homer Plessy, this event became the start of a chain of events that would alter the landscape of a community, a state and a nation for generations to come.  Professor Stamps served as Principal of Davidson Academy, a segregated school serving the African American families of Tullahoma, Tennessee and its neighboring communities in Southern Middle Tennessee.  Professor Stamps’ tireless efforts as a transformational leader would alter the life trajectory of a generation of families within his community.  This time-period (1924-1966) within the educational arena would be marked as a time of exceptional growth and development which would spark a level of excitement and optimism not only for the African American children of Tullahoma, but for the United Stated of America. 

Transformational Leadership Theary

The purpose of the current mixed-methods study was to investigate the degree to which Professor Crosby DeWitt (C.D.) Stamps exhibited transformational leadership behaviors during his tenure as principal of Davidson Academy, a member school of the Tullahoma City School system in Tullahoma, Tennessee, during the time period of 1924-1966.  I also explored how those leadership behaviors influenced student academic achievement and the school culture at Davidson Academy.  In the study, I utilized individual and focus group interviews to gain a deeper understanding of the operationalized transformational leadership behaviors of Professor Stamps as experienced by eight former students of Davidson Academy during the time of Professor Stamps’ tenure as principal.  In addition to semi-structured interview sessions, the researcher utilized the multifactor leadership questionnaire (MLQ 5x-Short) to determine the degree to which Professor Stamps operationalized transformational leadership behaviors compared to the nationally normed questionnaire developed by Bass and Avolio (2004).  According to the research findings, Professor Stamps exhibited transformational leadership behaviors in each of the four key aspects.  The findings provide valuable insight for educational leaders and future researchers as they continue to explore the interplay between leadership behaviors and organizational effectiveness.

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