Lindsay Lyons, Ph.D. is a 2018 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dr. Lyons at her Dissertation Defense.

L-R: Dr. Carol Baron, Committee Chair, Dr. Philomena Essed, Committee Member, Dr. Marc Brasof, [not shown] Committee Member.

Dissertation Committee

  • Carol Baron, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Philomena Essed, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Marc Brasof, Ed.D., Committee Member

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Publication Date



This study developed a set of scales to measure building student leadership capacity in high schools. Student leadership is defined here as students working collaboratively to affect positive change in their educational environments with support from adults and mechanisms in the school. Fostering student leadership in schools has the potential to improve student development and academic achievement. The three scales are organized into three capacity building dimensions: personal, interpersonal, and organizational. Within each scale, items reflect leadership competencies of critical awareness, inclusivity, and positivity. Eight mechanisms identified from the student voice literature were also embedded in the items: radical collegiality, pedagogy, research, relationship, consistency, governance structures, group makeup, and recognition. The research involved two phases. In Phase 1, 280 students from nine schools took a survey that measured their perceptions of opportunities to build leadership in their schools. The results were analyzed using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Several models were tested including a set of items intended to measure personal, interpersonal, and organizational leadership capacity building as well as a three-factor, Overall Student Leadership Capacity Building Scale. All demonstrated acceptable model fit scores. T-tests, ANOVAs, and metric invariance tests found significant differences for: urbanicity and year in school. Mean scores on items reflecting student leadership competencies and mechanisms were compared to determine if there were significant differences by school. In Phase 2, students and teachers participated in focus groups and provided feedback on the instrument and discussed how the survey results could help inform efforts to build student leadership capacity in high schools. This set of scales will inform future research and educational leadership programming, equipping students with the tools to lead, learn, and thrive. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, and OhioLINK ETD Center,


Lindsay Lyons, Ph.D.

ORCID Scholar ID #: #0000-0002-0777-2121

Lindsay Lyons is an instructional coach who works with schools to develop student leadership, inclusive school governance structures, technology integration strategies, and interdisciplinary curriculum with project-based assessments. Lindsay believes in the power of working in partnership with students to create engaging, authentic curricula and foster an inclusive, justice-oriented community. She taught history, literacy, and feminism courses to high school students in New York City Title I high schools for seven years, in which she specialized in differentiating instruction for students with dis/abilities and students new to English. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and Gender Studies from SUNY Plattsburgh, an M.A. in Special Education from Hunter College, and a PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. Her research interests include student voice and shared leadership in schools.

Authored article:

Lyons, L. (2018). Invest in youth and adult leaders. The Source, Spring/Summer 2018.