Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Lasky, Susan Gail

Author's Keywords

Distributed leadership; Data; School reform; Sociocultural


Educational leadership; School improvement programs; School management and organization


This study examines how two schools utilized elements of distributed leadership to implement strategies from a reform intervention for whole school and classroom improvement planning from data. The notion of distributed leadership was refined in a conceptual framework that includes mediating variables of procedures and processes, materials and tools, and norms and rules. Strategies were introduced through a specific intervention for reform, Effective Schools for the 21st Century, based on high reliability organizations and co-construction. It utilized professional development sessions and distributed leadership as a vehicle to implement reform strategies in the schools. This was a qualitative study, analyzed through a sociocultural epistemological lens. The study was anchored in mediated agency and distributed leadership. Distributed leadership was expressed through the collaborative, interdependent work as people-or in this study-teachers engaged in activities to plan improvement. Mediated agency was observed as teachers and administrators utilized various procedures and processes, materials and tools, and norms and rules as they implemented the strategies to use and plan from data, as they worked toward becoming a more high reliability organization. Results indicated that as initiatives enter school contexts, they are, indeed, mediated and shaped as they are distributed across the three constructs of distributed leadership. It was also found that as strategies are mediated, proximal and distal outcomes are evident, as they are influenced by the three variables within each school context. Implications for understanding how distributed leadership was operationalized and co-constructed among school leaders were made. Also, implications were made for recognizing that relevant data was a powerful tool in leading and monitoring change when used intentionally for specific purposes.