Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Judith A. Ponticell, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

John Mann, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Zorka Karanxha, Ed.D.


teacher leadership, teacher empowerment, building capacity


This capstone project was part of a group project completed by two principals in elementary schools and a principal coach in Hillsborough County, Florida. Each of the team members has a passion for the work of administrator and lead learner in a turnaround school. Through creating a culture of teacher leadership, especially in high poverty schools, we believe students will succeed. We were looking for what a high performing school culture would look like if teachers were leading the work through ongoing inquiry and personalized support.

My individual focus was, in what kinds of work experiences did teachers feel they learned the most? What were those situations? Who else was involved, and what did they do? What did teachers do to foster their own development? What made these situations high point learning experiences?

My review of selected literature was guided by an Appreciative Inquiry perspective. Themes in the literature reviewed included: teacher collaboration, teacher leadership, and job-embedded professional development. Key insights to my area of focus included strong confirmation of the need for differentiated professional development for teachers to foster and improve teacher leadership. The research reviewed examined different professional development models and their relationship to teacher needs. School leaders should pay attention to how teachers are supported, how time is allotted, the degree to which a leader is committed, the need for collaboration among teachers, and the need for job-embedded learning and teacher support.