Term of Award

Spring 2007

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Barbara J. Mallory

Committee Member 1

Gregory Chamblee

Committee Member 2

Linda M. Arthur

Abstract

The researcher's purpose of this study was to understand teacher engagement within four dimensions of the distributed leadership model in one school district mandated to implement distributed leadership. The researcher administered a Likert-scale survey, Distributed Leadership Readiness Scale, developed by Elmore and modified by Gordon, to 295 certified teachers with Bachelor or higher degrees within eight schools in one school district. Teachers were engaged in all four dimensions, including: mission, vision and goals; school culture; leadership practices; and shared responsibility. Most teacher participation occurred with the distributed leadership practices in mission, vision and goals and the least engagement within leadership practices. Elementary teachers are more engaged within the all four dimensions of distributed leadership practices than middle or high school teachers. Middle school teachers practice shared responsibility more than high school teachers. The researcher also analyzed differences in participation of leadership practices by demographics. The researcher found that female, veteran teachers with seven or more years in education within their school were involved in leadership roles and were viewed by others as leaders. Distributed leadership is a complex phenomenon with teachers engaged in all four dimensions. Second, teachers are most engaged in developing mission, vision, and goals, which provides a foundation for initiating a distributed leadership model. Third, teachers are somewhat reluctant about participating in leadership tasks. Fourth, trust, respect, resources, and time are barriers that influenced full participation in distributed leadership practices. Fifth, teachers in elementary schools are more engaged in distributed leadership practices than high school teachers. Elementary teachers have more trust, collaboration, and desire to participate in leadership. Finally, most teachers involved in distributed leadership practices are female, veteran teachers in formal leadership positions. Overcoming the barriers of time and resources, as well as establishing a trusting school culture, are essential to engaging teachers in distributed leadership practices.

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