Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

December 1982


The purpose of this study was to determine if the National Middle School Association (NMSA) has been consistent with its written purposes, organizational structure, administrative leadership, publications, conferences, finances, and membership. An investigation was made of NMSA's records from its inception in 1970 through 1980. Personal and telephone interviews were conducted with leaders of NMSA. A compilation of happenings, past works, problems and accomplishments of the Association was made available to those interested in the history of NMSA. The specific objectives of this study were the following: (1) to provide a written historical record of NMSA during its first decade; (2) to critically analyze the Association according to its written purposes, organizational structures, administrative leadership, publications, conferences, financial status and membership; and (3) to examine NMSA's past experiences in order to provide information concerning its future. The research procedure and methodology established a base for a review of available records including minutes of Board of Directors meetings, committee reports, official publications of NMSA, personal interviews, telephone interviews and letters from NMSA leaders. The files of the Executive Director and NMSA central office files were also investigated. The findings of the study indicated that during the first decade, NMSA grew from a group of twenty-two Midwestern middle school educators to a national group of almost two thousand members. The working staff of NMSA grew from a small, all-volunteer group to a professional staff of a full-time Executive Director, Executive Assistant, and secretaries working in the headquarters in Fairborn, Ohio. Services provided for the membership changed from a copy machine newsletter to the professional Middle School Journal, quarterly newsletter, bonus publications and regional and national conferences. The major accomplishments of the Association were: (1) promotion of the middle school concept; (2) providing of quality publications; (3) sharing ideas and research; and (4) providing a forum for all people interested in middle grades students. The conclusions of this study indicated that the initial ideas set forth by the founders were well intended. However, they were altered due to the myriad forces that fragmented middle school education. This fragmentation made imperative that new policies and organizational structure be established and changed constantly. These changes, though considered by the leadership to be necessary, served to disjoint the Association, hindering its anticipated growth.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted