The purpose of this study was to enhance an understanding of how the concept of trust served as a mediator in school reform initiatives. The study described how district leaders worked to build and nurture trusting relationships to sustain reform efforts. A phenomenological research design was utilized to understand how trust mediates system reform. This qualitative study included eight district leaders from Southern California. The district leaders participating in this study were recognized by the National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST) for leading America's Best Urban Schools or had received the distinction of Honor Roll classification by the California Business for Education Excellence. The researcher conducted an extended interview, which was organized as two segments, with those district leaders. In the first segment, district leaders were asked to share their background in education, their belief system pertaining to who holds responsibility for school and district improvement, and their perspectives on the district's culture, patterns of communication, and ability to identify and implement reform. The second segment of the interviews focused on efforts to build trust in an effort to ascertain the leaders' perceptions as to the importance of trust and actions necessary to build it. District leaders shared numerous structures and strategies they believed addressed specific facets of trust including honesty and respect, vulnerability and interdependence, consistency and reliability, and openness and communication, as they worked to build trusting relationships with various stakeholders. Through the interview process, they identified trust as a variable that supports and sustains district reform. In summary, this study is significant in building upon the research base affirming that sound leadership at the district level has a profound effect on sustained system reform. It also shows that it would behoove district leaders to support conditions in which trusting relationships are nurtured and strengthened. By establishing structures and systems in which there is a strong sense of partnership between the district, the school site, and the community trusting relationships will serve to mediate district reform.