Date of Award





Doctor of Education

Degree Type

Curriculum and Leadership


Teacher Education

First Advisor

Dana Griggs, PhD,

Second Advisor

Joseph Dean, EdD,

Third Advisor

Anna Hart, EdD,


The purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study was to examine school-based educators’ perceptions of professional learning and its impact on their ability to improve literacy instruction. The perceived role of the principal in the implementation, monitoring, and sustaining professional learning was also explored. A total of eight teachers, two media specialists, two instructional coaches, and five school leaders at two elementary schools in the Southeast United States participated in the study. Findings include the importance of quality, ongoing professional development, the leader’s role in planning, participation in, and supporting teachers through the professional development process, and everyone’s role in supporting literacy throughout the school. The findings can inform professional learning practices aimed at improving literacy instruction for underperforming students. This research sought to draw a line from professional development to teacher learning to instructional practices in a way that may illuminate their connection to student learning.

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