Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education/Leadership in Urban Schools

First Advisor

Wenfan Yan

Second Advisor

Patricia Krueger-Henney

Third Advisor

Jack Leonard


This historic case study studied the development of the Boston Opportunity Agenda (BOA), a public-private educational partnership, from 2007-2019. Despite significant prominence, influence, and investment from the partners involved, public-private educational partnerships in Boston have been understudied. The intention of this dissertation was to bring an understanding of how this urban educational public-private partnership developed; the motivations of the partners to participate; the partner perceptions of the successes and challenges of the partnership; and the extent of the partnership's influence on the Boston Public Schools.

This case study utilized qualitative methods of document analysis and semi-structured interviews of partnership leaders to understand the BOA. To contextualize the findings, the data was examined through three lenses: a historic lens reveals existing relationships with individuals and partners involved in the BOA as well as an understanding of how the BOA replicates, extends, or innovates from previous public-private educational partnerships in Boston; a motivational lens, utilizing a spectrum of reasons for organization’s motivation to partner (Barringer & Harrison, 2000; Cantor, 1990; and Siegel, 2010), provides an understanding of why partners joined the partnership and how these motivations influence the partnership formation and partner experiences; and the collective impact model’s conditions for success (Kania & Kramer, 2011) explain the BOA’s structures and processes and the understanding of how the BOA replicates, extends, or innovates from this model. The results of this study include a detailed account of the actors, decisions, and processes for the development of the partnership along with a deeper understanding of the motivations for partner members to participate. Partner perceptions of strengths were characterized by human capital conditions such as dedication, trust, appropriate staffing along with partnership processes for major initiative development while challenges largely resided in an array of financial constraints. Finally, partnership influence on the Boston Public Schools was observed, although partnership structures revealed some limitations to such influence. The development of the Boston Opportunity Agenda provides a menu of implications to foster partnership success along with a few caveats for current and future urban communities considering public-private educational partnerships.