Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Pamela Harrison


The problem addressed in this study was the inability of certain schools in a rural school district in Florida to achieve adequate yearly progress (AYP) in comparison to a neighboring school district where students consistently made AYP. Research has shown a positive relationship between student achievement and principal leadership skills. The purpose of this study was to identify patterns in elementary teachers' perceptions of their principals' leadership skills related to student achievement and elementary principals' perceptions of their own leadership practices and compare those perceptions. The conceptual framework for this qualitative case study design was instructional leadership. Twelve teachers of Kindergarten to Grade 5 from 3 high-achieving elementary schools volunteered to participate and provided data through 2 focus groups with 6 primary grade teachers and 6 intermediate grade teachers respectively. Principals at the same 3 high-achieving elementary schools provided data through semistructured interviews. Open coding and thematic analysis yielded 4 themes from the principals' responses, including instructional leadership, hands-on leadership, communication and collaboration, and management by visibility. The teachers' responses resulted in the themes of high expectations for student achievement, a supportive learning environment, consistent collection and review of student achievement data, and an overall positive school climate to promote exemplary instructional practices and student success. A positive social change that can stem from this study is implementing principal leadership practices related to the findings in low-achieving schools. This may result in gains in student achievement, leading to increased academic and economic opportunities.