Dr Petri Featured in EdCal

Petri_Teacher EOIt’s always nice to see three years of your life condensed into 1,200 words. It was painful to shrink a 30,000 word tome into a short news article, but I hope the short format brings Teacher EO to a wider audience. In the final summation, no dissertation is truly a solo act. The following people were great supports and helped me finish when I faltered.

Ricardo Sosapavon, a professor from my Master’s program, was instrumental in encouraging me to apply to CSUN’s doctoral program and supported me in my first principalship. For that I will remain forever in his debt. Dr. Rick Moore suggested I look at the literature on entrepreneurship to see if any lessons could be cross-applied to education. He also heartily recommended the highly entrepreneurial, Dr. Rick Castallo to serve as my dissertation chair. Dr. Castallo’s adroit leadership prevented me from getting sidetracked by the various tangents. His encyclopedic knowledge of educational research was indispensible throughout this process. Dr. Peggy Johnson has been an outstanding professor and mentor for the last three years. Michelle Bennett used her 39 years of LAUSD experience to beat any bias from my writing.

I also owe a debt of thanks to the EO community. The following researchers encouraged me in pursuing the line of inquiry that made this dissertation possible: Dawn Bolton, George Dingilian, Tom Lumpkin, Peter Marzec, Marshall Pattie, and Bill Wales. Chris Clegg, Dr. Terrance Jakubowski, Dr. Jinyl (Jason) Li, and Dr. Jonah Schlackman all spent inordinate amounts of their time trying to teach a math-phobic history teacher just enough about quantitative methods to complete this work.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the members of my CSUN doctoral cohort: Jack Bagwell, Suzanne Blake, Jason Beck, Annette Besnilian, Tania Cabeza, Dwayne Cantrell, Pam Castleman, Carla Cretaro, Lynda Daniel, Jay Greenlinger, Eman Hill, Shannon Johnson, Paul Payne, Adrienne Peralta, Cecil Swetland, Jay Tartaro, Rachel Taylor, Ayk Terjimanian, Lorie Thompson, Madeline Latham Wilson, and Rich Underhill. I am proud to have undertaken this journey with you. We laughed together, struggled together, and bonded together. I hope we continue to support each other throughout long and satisfying careers.

Here is a link to the entire dissertation, for those that have trouble sleeping:



Teacher Entrepreneurial Orientation – Part 3

RQ2: Does the distribution of EO characteristics vary at different types of schools?

ANOVA revealed elementary teachers were significantly higher on innovation than middle or high school teachers (p = .027). Middle school and high school teachers were not significantly different (p > .999). Elementary teacher scores were significantly higher on proactiveness than high school teachers (p = .002), while there were no significant differences between middle and high school teachers (p = .807).

Elementary teachers were significantly higher on innovation than middle or high school teachers. Elementary teachers were significantly higher on proactiveness than high school teachers. Possible reasons for this finding may stem from differences in multiple subject and single subject credentialing in California. These teachers have different motivations for entering the profession, different backgrounds, and different training.

RQ3: Are certain EO factors more frequently reported by teachers.

ANOVA showed all teachers reported significantly higher levels of innovation than proactiveness. All teachers reported significantly higher levels of innovation than risk taking. All teachers reported significantly higher levels of proactiveness than risk taking (all ps < .001). Innovativeness was the most frequently reported EO characteristic with a mean of 4.54, followed by proactiveness with a mean of 4.36, and then risk taking with a mean of 3.09. These significant differences indicate that the EO factors of innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk taking are distinct constructs and may be examined independently.

RQ4: Is one subgroup of teachers more disposed to innovativeness, proactiveness, or risk taking?

Multiple regression analysis showed that gender had a significant effect on all three subscales and overall EO score. ANOVA testing revealed that females reported a higher overall EO score and significantly higher levels of innovation and proactiveness (all ps < .02). There was no significant difference in risk taking (p = .140). There were no significant differences in EO levels by ethnicity (all ps > .154). While this study revealed that female teachers scored significantly higher on innovativeness and proactiveness than their male counterparts, it does not suggest that female teachers produce higher student achievement, however, female teachers may be more suited to educational start-ups than male teachers.


This study demonstrates that EO research is relevant in education. Teacher EO examination may provide districts with a cost effective method in identifying school leaders and instructional talent more likely to be successful in start-up schools. Further, educational leaders may benefit from understanding how EO and the individual factors of innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk taking impact their practices and procedures.

Teacher Entrepreneurial Orientation – Part 2

Problem Statement

Research has not presented a clear way to classify teachers’ entrepreneurial aptitudes. As the number of innovative programs in education increase, will there be enough teachers with entrepreneurial orientation for these schools? Transferring EO research into education may inform policy makers how to identify entrepreneurial teachers and sustain innovation.

EO Domain Definitions

Innovativeness captures a teacher’s willingness to depart from traditional methods of teaching and learning by developing novel ideas, experimenting with new approaches, and being creative. Proactiveness captures a teacher’s initiative when anticipating problems, identifying opportunities to solve them, taking immediate, often preventative action, and persevering until their planning brings about results. Risk taking captures a teacher’s willingness to take chances and gamble on unproven approaches, even when the outcome is highly uncertain.


This study used California’s Department of Education school affidavit website. Excel files were downloaded in three categories: charter, private, and traditional public. Principals’ email addresses were randomly selected and sent a solicitation, which they could forward on to their teachers for participation in the study. A total of 729 California teachers completed the survey. Exploratory factor analysis confirmed the consistency and reliability of the instrument. Multiple regression tested EO factors as constant variables, while school type, school level, years of teaching, gender, and ethnicity were controlled. ANOVA tests were run to determine which results had statistical significance.

Factor Analysis

Risk taking, with an eigenvalue of 5.91, accounted for 22% of the variance in total EO score. Innovativeness, with an eigenvalue of 3.09, accounted for 20% of the variance in total EO score. Proactiveness, with an eigenvalue of 1.39, accounted for 16% of the variance in total EO score. These factors combined accounted for 58% of the total variance in total EO score.

RQ1: Do EO scores differ among teachers in charter, private, and public schools?

Differences on the EO subscales for the three types of schools were compared using ANOVA and there were no significant differences between charter, private, and public school teachers along innovation (all ps > .712). Public school teachers scored significantly higher on the proactive subscale, than charter school teachers (p = .011). Charter school teachers scored significantly higher on the risk taking subscale, than traditional public school teachers (p = .003). Charter schools and private schools are often perceived as being more innovative than traditional public schools (Broughman et al., 2011; Lake, 2008), yet these scores did not reflect this. These results agree with the hypothesis that charter school teacher turnover may explain the lack of difference in student achievement between charters and traditional public schools (Payne, 2013).

The significant difference between traditional public school teachers and charter school teachers on proactiveness may suggest that unionized teachers in the public school sector feel more comfortable advocating for their students. The finding that charter school teachers scored significantly higher along the risk taking subscale is consistent with research that shows seniority-based hiring practices employed by public schools discourage mobility (Moe, 2011). This may explain why public school teachers in this study scored lower along the risk taking subscale.

Teacher Entrepreneurial Orientation – Part 1

Author’s Note: This summary is from my 31,000 word, 151 page doctoral dissertation on Teacher Entrepreneurial Orientation. Since it would be cruel and unusual punishment to ask anyone to read that, I have broken it into three approximately 400 word sections. If you are a doctoral student interested in this line of work, I would be happy to share EO resources with you. Contact me via the form on the About page.

Where Are The Risk Takers? Using The Entrepreneurial Orientation Construct To Identify Innovative And Proactive Teachers

Entrepreneurs in education have altered the services and the delivery of services that the public expects to receive from traditional school systems. Many current innovations require teachers to be more entrepreneurial. Research indicates that entrepreneurial characteristics that contribute to success in other professions may predict success for entrepreneurs in education. Yet, most personality profiles of teachers reveal they do not share entrepreneurs’ risk taking propensities. Thus, promising educational innovations may not be realized because there are insufficient numbers of entrepreneurial teachers to implement them. This quantitative study of 729 California teachers adapted an Entrepreneurial Orientation instrument, widely used in management research, to determine whether teachers in charter, traditional public, and private schools differ along scales of innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk taking.

Many policy makers see innovation as a lever for change in public education. Education entrepreneurs have been investigated by numerous researchers: (Childress, 2010; Hess, 2006, 2008, 2010; Lake, 2008; Lubienski, 2003, 2009). Teacher leadership has been subject to widespread focus (Darling-Hammond, 2000; Schmoker, 2011). Farris-Berg et al. (2013) posit that teachers could be the social entrepreneurs we need for K-12. They found teacher partnerships design stunningly different approaches to teaching and learning and create management cultures that emulate those of high-performing organizations. Sears, Kennedy and Kaye (1997) found teacher personalities are not likely to lead reform movements, or become tomorrow’s educational leaders. (Clark & Guest, 1995) suggest that more risk-taking, visionaries, and trouble-shooters will be needed, as teachers expand their roles.

Carsrud & Brannback (2011) maintain that research on personality traits can be a way to understand entrepreneurial behavior. Study of entrepreneurial orientation as a construct has evolved and expanded over thirty years. (Rauch, Wiklund, Lumpkin, & Frese, 2009) This meta-analysis suggested that EO is a significant predictor of performance. Several EO researchers (Bolton & Lane, 2012; Covin & Slevin, 1991; Miller, 1983; and Rauch, Frese, Koenig, & Wang, 2009) argue for conducting inquiry with the original three dimensions of innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk taking. Others (Basso, Fayolle, & Bouchard, 2009; Chadwick, Barnett, & Dwyer, 2008; Covin  & Lumpkin, 2011; Dess, Pinkham, & Yang, 2011; and Lumpkin & Dess, 1996) claim the Entrepreneurial Orientation construct should be expanded to a larger set of five dimensions: autonomy, innovativeness, proactiveness, risk taking and competitive aggressiveness.