Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Cherie Gaines

Second Advisor

Joshua Tipton

Third Advisor

Clifford Davis


Since the early 1900s, educational leaders and policymakers looked to consolidation as a way for rural schools and school systems to overcome financial challenges and improve the educational experiences for students. Stakeholders were met with conflicting claims about the effects of school and system consolidation. Proponents of consolidation claimed a consolidation would provide students with more curricular and extracurricular options by way of financial savings experienced from economies of scale, while opponents of consolidation claimed the consolidation would not relieve financial stress but would risk more behavioral problems and a loss of community identity. In this case study of a rural school system in Tennessee, involving instrumental, semi‑structured interviews, I aimed to uncover the perceptions stakeholders had on how a school consolidation impacts student opportunity. After 20 interviews with five administrators, five teachers, five parents, and five non-parent community members, I found stakeholders desired increased curriculum and extracurricular options for students but were wary of the impact consolidation might have on student engagement and positive student-teacher relationships.


Centralization, Interviews, Rural schools, School consolidation