Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Elizabeth Warren


Professional Development to Enhance Instructional Leadership and Practice of

Central Office Administrators


Cheryl A. R. McCue

M. Ed., Lehigh University, 1990

BS, Kutztown University, 1987

Doctoral Study Submitted in Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Degree of

Doctor of Education

Walden University

June 2016

Decades of research and practice suggest that educational administrators need to experience opportunities for professional development and continuous learning. This project study addressed the problem regarding the lack of a formal or systemic plan for professional development of central office administrators in a large suburban school district in northeastern United States. Supported by Lave and Wenger's communities of practice model and the work of Bandura in social learning theory, the research question investigated the ways in which central office administrators experienced continuous learning and professional development opportunities and the perceptions regarding the effectiveness of those practices as a vehicle for enhancing their knowledge of instructional leadership and practice. A descriptive qualitative case study design using the purposeful sampling of 18 central office administrators was used to collect data via an open-ended survey, plan analysis, and document reviews that were coded and analyzed for common themes. Themes that emerged revealed participants thought that collaborative and reflective practices were important to continuous learning and professional development and necessary to enhance knowledge of instructional leadership and practice. Study findings supported the need for increased time and an identified structure for professional development opportunities as well as an improved culture of learning for the district's central office administrative team. Providing a structure for more systemic professional development for central office administrators may lead to more quality instruction and leadership practice, thus influencing student learning in this district as an aspect of positive social change.