Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Measurement and Research

Major Professor

Jose Castillo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William Black, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nathaniel von der Embse, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Stephanie Green, Ph.D.


educational leadership, factors, system implementation


Currently, educators are exposed to an increased environment of accountability, which prioritizes student academic achievement. That environment of accountability is reinforced by multiple pieces of legislation that also call attention to the implementation of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS). Even with these federal mandates, educators are continuously overwhelmed implementing MTSS and often leverage distributed leadership practices such as school leadership teams to carry out school improvement tasks. Both distributed leadership practices and MTSS are directly impacted by the practices of formal leadership (i.e., principals). In addition, enablers of and barriers to distributed leadership for MTSS should be investigated. This current study will utilize qualitative data to examine the facilitators of, and barriers to distributed leadership in a school that is implementing MTSS as well as the influence of the principal on a distributed leadership model. An embedded single case study was conducted with one elementary school leadership team that was facilitating MTSS implementation. Data from interviews, observations, documents, and journal entries were analyzed with a thematic analysis and constant comparison technique. The findings yielded multiple facilitators of (i.e., leadership experience, trust and flexibility, communication, collaboration and consistency, the utilization of data) and hinderances to (i.e., mindsets, resources, personal and professional shortcomings) distributed leadership for MTSS. Additionally, the study highlighted the role of the principal (i.e., engaged leading, supporting of learning, accessing collective capacity) within a distributed leadership model for MTSS. Theoretical, practical, and policy advancements for the field of education in light of this study’s findings are discussed.