Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Gloria Hall

Second Advisor

Dr. Harrington Gibson



The work of Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom, and Anderson, (2010), Manna (2015), Leithwood and Azah (2016) validates that principals can have a powerful influence on instruction and learning in schools. Supporting principals’ growth with professional development, therefore, is critical to building principals’ competencies as instructional leaders. Although school districts are unique in internal and external conditions (e.g., educational, political, and financial); which may influence their approach to supporting principals, a useful place for all school districts to start is with an appraisal of principals’ perceptions of current support and professional development from central office; regardless of district internal and external influences. This program evaluation examined how three case study principals in one suburban high school district in Illinois described the professional development content, and school district support they were receiving to improve their ability to influence instruction and student learning in their schools. It further offers guidance in the form of recommendations for school districts who may want to increase their effectiveness in supporting and growing principals as instructional leaders. An online survey questionnaire for principals, semi-structured one-on-one interviews with principals, and various district artifacts were used to collect data; which was then subsequently examined and analyzed through the lens of professional development and support system frameworks offered by a sample of high-performing districts; informed by a robust literature review.

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