Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, EDD

Committee Chair

Brydon-Miller, Mary

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Buecker, Harrie

Committee Member

Buecker, Harrie

Committee Member

Davis, Keith

Committee Member

Newcomb, Angela

Author's Keywords

teacher leadership; school principal; school leadership; administrative beliefs; school structures and systems; transformational leadership theory


Numerous definitions, leadership roles, and methods of approaching teacher leadership are discussed in various areas of research; however, no efforts have been made to analyze the administrators who consciously cultivate it in their staff. Using a phenomenological design, this study identified twelve administrators—four elementary, four middle school, and four high school principals—who were found to cultivate teacher leadership, and explored both how these leaders defined teacher leadership, as well as examined how they worked to consciously cultivate it among their staff. Burns’ Transformational Leadership Theory (1978) is the study’s theoretical framework. The findings of the study outline a new definition for teacher leadership, and report on both what principals believe about teacher leadership (relationships matter, trust teachers, honor time, the importance of school culture, and the power of administrative mentorship) and the structures principals use to promote teacher leadership (formal school structures and systems, professional learning communities, teacher-facilitated professional development, and teacher feedback systems). Ultimately, this study has implications for both researchers and practitioners by providing examples of structures, experiences, and systems that promote building-level teacher leadership efforts.