Department

Leadership

Date of Paper/Work

2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Dissertation

Advisors

Eleni Roulis, Richard Cash, Timothy Anderson

Abstract

This qualitative case study examines experiences of teachers who left the classroom for a teacher leader role as a Peer Coach, a relatively new and mandated position with origins in United States educational reform movements. The responsibilities of this distinctive position include evaluating teacher performance, providing observation data and feedback, and coaching to improve instructional practices. Conversational-style interviews of ten Peer Coaches in a suburban Minnesota school district established an in-depth understanding of participants’ stories, and examination of data focused on the research categories of Development, Leadership, and Change. Analysis illuminated four emerging themes: Identity, Mindset, Behaviors, and Relationships. Results affirmed what is known about teacher leadership, and through application of established theory, findings indicated transformative learning for Peer Coaches. Influential leadership was evident, with opportunities to build authentic relationships and a culture of collaboration, mutual support, and trust. Shared leadership with administrators transpired through evaluating and supporting teachers, creating a strengthened community of practice within the schools and district. Participants experienced autonomy, increased professional network, opportunities for new learning, and a renewed sense of purpose. Grounded theory emerged and constructed unique understandings and insights of participant experiences. Discussion includes decision-making in education and growth flow of Peer Coaches, which shows increased levels of interactions and networks, allowing for broadened professional opportunities. Recommendations include expanding coaching in education with development of a coaching model to enhance teaching and coaching practices. Maximizing the transformative learning experienced by teacher leaders calls for a new approach to professional paths and advancement for teachers. The relevance of Peer Coaches’ experiences and perspective of teacher leaders provides insightful information with implications for authentic change in education.

Keywords

education, development, leadership, coaching, change, teachers

Creative Commons License

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

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