This study focuses on individual development as one of the characteristics of Servant Leadership. This is an attempt to attract more attention to Servant Leadership in the context of education as the study argues that teachers, with servant leadership behaviors, can enhance students’ individual development. The study pointed out Servant Leadership behaviors which relate to individual development in the non-fiction book “The Freedom Writers Diary” by Erin Gruwell, this book is the real story of a teacher who changed lives and made a difference. The study also traced students’ character qualities that can be attributed to having Ms. Gruwell as their teacher. The study sought to answer the following research questions: (a) What Servant Leadership behaviors for individual development can be traced in the book “The Freedom Writers Diary” by Erin Gruwell? (b) What character qualities in Erwin Gruwell students’ diary entries can be attributed to her influence as a teacher? A qualitative content analysis was conducted where coding of data was done according to themes and meanings interpreted from the text. Servant Leadership behaviors for individual development were pointed out in the lives of Jesus Christ and Gandhi who are considered role model servant leaders and also from the writings of the scholars who wrote about Servant Leadership. Then, those same behaviors were drawn from the non-fiction book “The Freedom Writers Diary”. Nine Servant Leadership behaviors were pointed out and listed as nine data codes derived from the analysis, in addition to nine respective character qualities drawn from the students’ diary entries included in the book. The study concluded that Servant Leadership can develop students’ characters and help them achieve better academic results; thus, Servant Leadership behaviors need to be a part of teacher preparation and evaluation. Moreover, more research is needed on Servant Leadership in the context of education.


International & Comparative Education Department

Degree Name

MA in International & Comparative Education

Graduation Date

Fall 7-26-2015

Submission Date

May 2012

First Advisor

Cossa, Jose

Second Advisor


Third Advisor


Committee Member 1

Sharaf, Rasha

Committee Member 2


Committee Member 3



135 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

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Acknowledgement This research has been done with the support of many people. I would like to offer special thanks to my adviser Doctor José Cossa, who encouraged me all through the way, to Doctor Rasha Sharaf who also offered guidance and support. I extend my thanks to the Graduate School of Education. Offering this degree in Egypt fulfils a need that has always been there for a lot of teachers, educators and educational leaders for a long time. I extend my thanks to Doctor Samiha Peterson, she has been a sincere and professional leader and an inspiration. My thanks are also extended to Dr. Russanne Hozayin who dedicated a lot of time and effort to help everybody with problems and obstacles. I thank all my colleagues and classmates, they were all such a motivation, and I also thank all the Professors whom I was honored to have all along the way since I started this degree.