Term of Award

Fall 2007

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Meta Harris

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

Saba Jallow


The literature on educational leadership and school change recognizes clearly the influence of the principal on whether or not change will occur in the school. It seems clear that transforming the school organization into a professional learning community can be done only with the sanction of the principal and active nurturing of the professional development of the staff in order to progress as a learning community. Thus, a look at the elementary principal of a school whose staff is a professional learning community seems a good starting point for describing what these learning communities look like and how they operate effectively. The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of elementary principals in the development of professional learning communities. In order to explain the role of elementary principals from the Participant's point of view, a self-ethnographic, qualitative methodology is used in this study. A semistructured interview was conducted, due to the Participant's experience, knowledge of the school, and role in the development of professional learning communities. Because of the proximity of the Participant, a face to face interview was conducted. Findings of the study, though similar to some of the literature on developing professional learning communities, contributed to the research. Identified themes gained from the study that determine the role of elementary principals in the development of professional learning communities are the following: supportive leadership and shared decision making among stakeholders, shared values and a vision all can understand and embrace, structural conditions and supportive culture conducive to effective collaboration, and improved communication and professional development.

Research Data and Supplementary Material