Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Carol A. Mullen, Ph.D.


Shared governance, Professional learning communities, Action research, Teacher retention, Accountability


The purpose of this study was to explore how public elementary school principals develop teacher leadership capacity within their schools, as well as the effect of this effort on a school's performance. After examining a variety of sources, such as journal articles and web-based search engines, the researcher determined that there was scant information explaining the process principals undergo to create teacher leadership roles in an effort to develop a high-performing school. To accomplish the goals of this study, salient reports in the field of teacher leadership were reviewed. The insights afforded from these reports guided the researcher in developing a field-based investigation focusing on school leaders and teachers employed in three high-performing elementary schools in central Florida.

The researcher explored features of teacher leadership that were evident in high-performing schools and sought to discover the characteristics principals seek in selecting new teachers. Also investigated were the teacher leadership opportunities created by the principals and the ways in which these roles helped to sustain the elementary schools' high performance. Furthermore, recent school-based decisions made by the school leaders were studied. Throughout the data, school administrators provided opportunities for teacher leadership within their schools, primarily by forming school-based committees. The results showed that principals solicited opinions from teachers, especially when it came to curriculum and instructional concerns. In addition, when sharing best practices or participating in staff-development opportunities with colleagues, teachers felt satisfied with their work environments.

School leaders and teachers understood the roles they played in the overall success of their schools. Based on the results of this qualitative study, principals can build leadership capacity at schools by first establishing a culture of trust, honesty, and professionalism between themselves and the teachers. Next, school leaders provide and support opportunities for leadership by aligning teacher strengths and roles. The researcher recommends that future research in teacher leadership examine whether the principal's impact on teacher leadership has an affect on retention at the school level.