Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Pamela Harrison


The problem addressed in the study was the ineffectiveness of professional learning community (PLC) implementation at some secondary campuses in an urban school district despite extensive professional development (PD) provided for principals. The purpose was to investigate perceptions of principals and teachers regarding principal leadership behaviors that contributed to implementing and leading effective PLCs. Researchers have established that effectively managed PLCs positively affect student achievement. The guiding research questions examined the leadership styles, behaviors, and characteristics of principals leading effective PLCs. The conceptual framework was Hord's 5 characteristics of an effective PLC. Using an exploratory case study design, perceptions of 9 teachers and 2 principals were investigated through open-ended surveys and interviews, respectively. Participant inclusion criteria were membership in and presence during the implementation of 2 secondary PLCs which were selected based on evidence of Hord's 5 characteristics. Emergent coding was used to analyze the data and find themes relevant to leading effective PLCs, including participating in and developing PLC expectations and structures, effective 2-way communication with teachers, and teacher empowerment. All themes emerging from the results were components of a transformational leadership style found to be effective in leading PLCs. The resulting project was a PD program for principals to develop implementation plans and intentional behaviors for themselves that will enable them to implement and sustain effective PLCs. This study has the potential to promote positive social change by providing structures for principals to promote teacher growth through PLCs that enhance the quality of education for students which minimizes the effects of cultural and circumstantial differences.