Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Building Leadership Capacity for Instructional Improvement with Elementary School Formal Teacher Leaders; Closing the Knowing and Doing Gap
by Nichols, Windy, Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2014, 193; 3614473
Abstract (Summary)

As a result of increased principal responsibilities in terms of complexity, accountability, and demands for improved student achievement, sources have concluded that in order for school districts to undertake transformations that improve teaching and learning, schools must be aligned to best practices, and have a functioning professional learning community and shared leadership (Copeland, 2003; Dufour, 1997; Elmore, 2004; Gronn, 2008; Lambert 2002; Murphy, Smylie, Mayrowetz, & Louis, 2009). Most elementary schools have only one principal; therefore, the impact on teaching and learning led by one person may not result in organizational reform even if that individual is an instructional leader, due to the multitude of responsibilities carried by that individual as a result of the influence of other leaders (formal and informal) within the organization (Lambert, 2002; Shivers-Blackwell, 2006; Spillane 2005, 2006, and 2010). Districts take a variety of approaches to address this challenge, ranging from efforts to improve the content knowledge of their leaders to setting up formal structures to distribute instructional leadership in the form of formal teacher leaders (Timperley, 2005; Sherer, 2008).

This study determined, through analyzing decision-making styles of lead teachers and their perception of their principals, principals were more participatory and less laissez-faire than lead teachers. In addition, lead teachers utilize many leadership practices; however, they do not utilize them equally or consistently. The theory of distributed leadership and literature reviewed conclude that when leadership is distributed, schools have the ability to build capacity and grow initiatives around instructional improvement. Distributed leadership implies interdependency of leaders sharing responsibility with followers (Harris, 2003). This study has provided additional information for future researchers to use as the academic community continues to define the behaviors and practices that support a distributed leadership model. Recent studies express the way leadership is distributed in schools, suggesting the question is not if teachers lead along with the principal and district officials, but how (Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001; Margolis, 2008).

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Clayton, Jennifer
Commitee: Corbin-Staton, Amanda, Desanders, Marguerite, Hughs, Leslie, Tucker, James
School: The George Washington University
Department: Educational Administration and Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership
Keywords: Distributed leadership, Teacher leaders
Publication Number: 3614473
ISBN: 9781303798054
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