Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Susanne Flannelly

Committee Member

Michael Simonson


diffusion of innovation, digital divide, virtual school history, virtual school principal


This applied dissertation was designed to provide concise information and research to delineate the role of the virtual school principal (VSP). The research available was outdated, scarce, or inadequate. The role of VSPs and the challenges that are faced were unclear. This researcher has found very little evidence to establish whether virtual school program modifications have had any change in the digital divide. The descriptive information for the case study was gathered through interviews and a demographic survey. The analysis included use of the Innovativeness Scale, which was used to gather data on the level of innovativeness of VSPs. Participants in the results fell within the innovativeness of diffusion of innovation and early majority group. A high level of educational attainment, upward social mobility, and a propensity for innovation were suggested by demographic data. The interviews revealed four themes: (a) role of administrator, (b) duties and responsibilities, (c) characteristics, (d) challenges, and (e) implementing new ideas. This case study contributes to the body of knowledge on Kindergarten–Grade 12 (K–12) online learning as well as digital divide and diffusion studies. Consequently, this case study contributes to both public awareness and knowledge of access issues encountered by VSPs in diverse K–12 public virtual schooling systems. This study contributes to any additional investigation on the issues of VSPs and methods for closing the digital divide (e.g., helping underrepresented student groups in public K–12 virtual education systems in Florida or across the Nation).