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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Dennis Brennan

First Committee Member

Sue Eskridge

Second Committee Member

Mari Irvin

Third Committee Member

Marilyn Draheim

Fourth Committee Member

Thomas Williams


While the process of changing educational systems is yet unclear, the relationship between teacher and learner places teachers at the focal point of change. The social/psychological organization of their workplaces known as staff culture is among the many issues effecting lasting reform. This study investigated the manner in which principals worked with this key variable in bringing about meaningful change. Students are not learning at the levels required to be productive citizens in the 21st century. In order to reverse this situation, most teachers need to change their manner of teaching. Despite years of reform efforts, many continue to resist change, particularly at the secondary level. This resistance is rooted in their professional norms, i.e., their education philosophy and beliefs. Most teacher have not been convinced of the need for change of their curriculum and instruction. Even though educational researchers find positive site culture to be key to reform of instruction, few school administrators have the understanding of site culture or training in interpersonal relation that is necessary to shape a culture which will accept and maintain change. A qualitative investigation was made of case studies of restructured high schools and interviews with principals who had brought about restructuring at their sites. Teachers were also surveyed. Data was gathered through content analysis of the studies, interviews and survey questionnaires in the areas of teacher attitudes, status of curriculum before and after the projects, and action of principals throughout the process of change. It was found that successful principals take action in common which fall into eight mutually exclusive categories. They also bring about change in a step by step priority process: (1) establish a clean campus and strong student discipline/attendance policies and develop University and business partnerships, (2) facilitate professional development opportunities for teachers through research based programs and provide them with human and material resources; focus on improving staff morale, (3) provide opportunities for collaboration, innovation and shared decision-making, (4) work to improve instruction. The information developed through this study can be used to guide and encourage school administrators in creating effective change in their schools.



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