Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2014


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Professional Doctorate in Educational Leadership (ProDEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Rick R McCown

Committee Member

Jolene G Kopriva

Committee Member

James B Schreiber

Committee Member

Deborah Scigliano

Committee Member

Janet L Grady


equity, multidisciplinary, professional development, teacher selection, variability


Teacher learning is critical to student learning (Darling-Hammond, 2002, 2010). The work documented here is driven by an investigation of a long-standing and complex problem of educational practice: the inequitable learning opportunities for students that result from variability in the selection, learning and placement of practicing and aspiring teachers. A multidisciplinary perspective is used to situate the problem of practice theoretically, within a body of empirical research, and within a context of educational practice. Among the perspectives used to examine the problem of practice are theoretical frameworks that support the claim that the problem is a matter of social justice. The investigation also argues that inequitable learning opportunities for students are impacted by a fusion of two critical factors including the avenues by which people are recruited for and granted access to teacher preparation programs and the structure and quality of professional development provided to practicing teachers. The argument acknowledges the concept of variability within systems and practices, but contends that variability within excellence is the environment that will afford quality teachers for all students. Efforts to understand and address the problem are addressed to reveal what has been learned in the investigation to date and how what needs to be learned will form a leadership agenda that engages a diversity of stakeholders collaborating on an effort to improve an educational system in which the problem of practice exists. The implications of the effort are discussed for individuals, for the system, and with regard to leadership issues that bear on the problem of practice. The work concludes with a summary of what has been learned through the investigation and the implications of that learning for the professional leadership agenda that will be pursued in order to establish collaboratively engaged improvement efforts as a norm of practice at the level of schools and school districts.