The purpose of this study was to examine the leadership strategies utilized by superintendents, district administrators and school principals and the impact of these identified strategies on implementing STEM initiatives specifically for lower-income students. The results of the study revealed that school leaders should consider the characteristics of effective STEM initiatives that have shown a considerable degree of correlation with positive outcomes for lower income students. These included the leadership strategies of decisions about the instructional direction and an emphasis on the conceptual development of scientific principles using the Next Generation Science Standards coupled with the Common Core State Standards. This study highlighted the criteria district and school leadership should include in implementing STEM initiatives and designing professional development models that result in meaningful instructional practices of STEM curriculum for secondary lower income students. This study provides insight for school leaders that can play an integral role in implementing STEM initiatives with access for socioeconomically disadvantaged students.