A Case of Leadership Development

  • Author / Creator
    Mayer, Donna F
  • Abstract

    The purpose of my doctoral research was to address the question, “How have school improvement strategies been instrumental in school and school system leadership development?” Several authors have indicated that the strength of school leadership is second only to classroom teaching as an influence on student learning and achievement (Leithwood, Louis, Anderson, &Wahlstrom, 2004; Levin, 2008; Pont, Nusche, & Moorman, 2009). However, also reported in the literature is the notion that education is faced with a situation where it may be increasingly difficult to find enough talented and qualified people to fill leadership vacancies (Alberta Education, 2010; Levin, 2008; OECD, 2008). My intention in conducting this research was to make an original contribution to the understanding of leadership development and hence the literature, through an investigation of the province-wide, government-funded Alberta Initiative for School Improvent(AISI) which had been in place since 1999 and received national and international attention as evidenced in the writing of scholars (Hargreaves, Crocker, Davis, Sahlberg, Sumara, & Shirley, 2009; Levin, 2010; Whelan, 2009).
    Within the case-study methodology, and using purposeful sampling, 19 participants from across Alberta were interviewed over three months so as to explore multiple experiences and perspectives. These participants experienced leadership in a variety of ways that had not been available to them prior to the inception of AISI. Interview data were supported by document review for historical information as well as my researcher’s journal that provided both chronological documentation and my personal reflections throughout the research.
    Data analysis and interpretations of how AISI leaders believed various actions, events and experiences prepared them to fulfill formal leadership roles resulted in the construction of three
    major themes: Developing Skills, Expanding Understanding of the Work Context, and Transitioning to Action. Based on research findings, this study concludes with implications and recommendations for theory along with policy and practice directed at institutions that develop teachers, at school systems and at schools, as well as possibilities for further research relative to school and school system leadership development.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Educational Administration and Leadership
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Thomas, Gregory (Secondary Education)
    • Da Costa, Jose (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Newton, Paul (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Peters, Frank (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Bosetti, Lynn (University of British Columbia, Faculty of Education)