In the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey - School District/Community-Based Research Initiative

Elliff, Hemmer, & Harvey


Of 4.8 million school-age children in Texas, an estimated 1.4 million were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The storm's magnitude cexceeded the scope of school districts' typical disaster preparedness practices. School leaders dealt with closures lasting weeks or months, losses in the tax base for school funding, relocations of students, and mass disruptions in standardized testing, among other challenges.

By learning from the superintendents of seven Coastal Bend public school districts, Dr. Scott Elliff and Dr. Lynn Hemmer will identify strategies that worked well and areas for improvement. Identifying areas of specific improvement and developing recommendations will help influence decisions in the state legislative arena pertaining to emergency management and support, school finance, disaster relief protocols, academic accountability, and more.

Dr. D. Scott Elliff, Department of Educational Leadership
Dr. Lynn Hemmer, Department of Educational Leadership

Total Award
$3,891.53 TAMUCC Research Enhancement Grant

Project Period
In progress

Research Method
Qualitative/Grounded Theory

This study aims to learn directly from the superintendents of nine Coastal Bend school districts affected by Harvey: Aransas County, Aransas Pass, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Gregory-Portland, Ingleside, Port Aransas, Sinton, and Taft. It will focus on leadership challenges the superintendents faced, the immediate and longer-term policy and regulatory issues they endured, and cross-district collaborative structures they devised to overcome the challenges presented by the storm's aftermath.

The study has two main goals: to identify extant policies, regulations, or practices that impeded school leaders in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and to identify leadership behaviors and strategies that superintendents used successfully in dealing with the crisis. Once identified, these will be published and presented to the field.