Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Middle and Secondary Education

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction, PhD

Committee Chair

Howell, Penny

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Norton-Meier, Lori

Committee Member

Norton-Meier, Lori

Committee Member

Chisholm, James

Committee Member

Sheffield, Caroline

Author's Keywords

professional development; teacher education; teacher leadership; planning professional development; National Writing Project; Literacy Design Collaborative


This narrative inquiry study informed the understanding of a professional development planning process within the National Writing Project Assignments Matter initiative sponsored by the Literacy Design Collaborative. Because little has been written about teacher-leaders in the roles of planning professional development for colleagues, this narrative inquiry used the three dimensions of situation, continuity, and interaction (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Dewey, 1938) to explore interviews, large and small group meeting recordings, and email communications among leadership team members during an initiative to plan professional development. Qualitative data analysis included coding of attributes, process, in vivo, and patterns (Saldaña, 2013). Pattern coding became the foundation for the narrative mode of analysis in which narrative smoothing occurred (Polkinghorne, 1995). Situations along the initiative time-line became short stories of the larger initiative narrative. Findings revealed that back-talk (SchÖn, 1983), the disruptions in the narrative, included fear of new leadership, anxiety about successful professional development implementation, negotiations of professional development planning, and tensions caused by grant deliverables. Participants navigated back-talk by gaining trust in their own abilities, in each other’s investment and intelligence, and in the focus of the initiative. One aspect of building trust came in the form invitations indicating that leaders and participants would work alongside each other. Another aspect of trust came through the empowerment of students’ voices to highlight the importance of creating meaningful writing assignments.