Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Don Jones


Demands for increased school accountability created by No Child Left Behind and Every Student Succeeds legislation has resulted in the implementation of professional development programs in which educators are observers rather than collaborative participants. The problem at a secondary independent charter school in Central Ohio was the lack of a collaborative culture in which teachers and administrators were committed to professional development and accepted collective responsibility for the achievement of all learners. The purpose of the study was to investigate the perceptions and experiences of teachers and administrators about the practice of distributed leadership and how it contributed to the functionality of a professional learning community (PLC). The conceptual framework was derived from DuFour's work on PLCs, which provided a strategy for the development of collaborative school cultures. The research questions focused on the experiences of administrators and teachers who utilized distributed leadership in the formation and continued operation of a PLC. A case study design was used to capture the insights of 2 administrators and 7 teachers through interviews and observations; a purposeful sampling process was used to select the participants. Emergent themes were identified through open coding, and the findings were developed and checked for trustworthiness through member checking and triangulation. The findings revealed that distributed leadership requires administrator empowerment of teachers to work collaboratively in an environment of mutual trust. Findings were used to create a professional development workshop designed to increase faculty collaboration and enhance teacher efficacy. This study has implications for positive social change by providing administrators with a structure for developing teacher leaders.