Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Mary Woods Scherr, PhD, Director; Edward R. DeRoche, PhD; Janet Chrispeels, EdD


California School Leadership Team, Leadership studies, perspective, Phenomenology, professional development, qualitative, school administration, teachers


This qualitative study explored a different type of leadership by investigating leadership among peers in a California School Leadership Team (SLT). Using a phenomenological approach, the researcher asked ten teachers to describe their experience as members and as leaders in a schoolwide change team. The teachers characterized the SLT as: a positive force in the school, a vehicle for communication, and a support group. They described the experience as: eye opening, unique, challenging, and transforming. Five themes emerged as the essence of the experience: (a) the interdependent relationship among the team members; (b) the teachers' growing capacity to discern fine differences in school culture and professional practice; (c) their strengthened commitment to their school, their students, and their role in effecting change; (d) their enhanced sense of empowerment; and (e) their growing understanding of leadership as it is practiced among peers. These teacher leaders (a) led by example; (b) took responsibility; (c) listened; (d) facilitated collaborative learning; (e) worked together; (f) did whatever was necessary; (g) took an equitable role on the team; (h) strove to live up to the responsibility; and (i) assumed the mantle of leadership. Unlike the reports from their colleagues in the literature, the teachers on the SLT were (a) willing to refer to themselves as leaders; (b) confident in their leadership role; (c) comfortable with being simultaneously teachers and leaders on a schoolwide change team that included the principal; and (d) nurtured by a "growth fostering relationship" with their colleagues on the team (Miller, 1986). In addition, these teachers were provided adequate time for training and collaboration, and were supported by district and site administration. The California School Leadership Team program provided many benefits to these teacher leaders and served as an integral part of the school reform efforts on their campus. This study concluded that the SLT program has the potential to make a significant difference in the lives of the teachers on the teams, to provide strong support for the development of teacher leadership, and to galvanize teacher commitment to enhancing success for all students.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access