Sustaining Distributed Leadership: Lessons Learned from a Case Study of Delaware Middle Schools

by Bariexca, Damian N., Ed.D., WILMINGTON UNIVERSITY (DELAWARE), 2014, 201 pages; 3666117


The purpose of this study is to provide a thick, rich description of distributed leadership practices at a suburban Delaware school district, to explore, per Spillane, Halverson, & Diamond (2004), the hows and whys of building-level distributed leadership practices, and to examine staff attitudes and perceptions relative to the influence of distributed leadership practices on school climate. The district received a grant to initiate distributed leadership in 2005; however, no follow-up studies had been conducted since 2009. The researcher administered the Distributed Leadership Readiness Scale [DLRS] to 135 staff members in two middle schools and interviewed fourteen employees from the two schools and district office.

DLRS results indicate that both buildings practice distributed leadership regularly, and interviews provide detailed explanations of how and why these practices are in place. The main overarching theoretical concept to emerge from interviews is that Wellbrook's practice of distributed leadership engenders community and organizational unity of purpose via a common mission and vision while allowing for localized best practices in achieving them. School climate in both buildings was largely characterized as positive. This study includes suggestions both for further research and for the district to consider examining.

AdviserMichael S. Czarkowski
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsEducational leadership; Middle school education; Educational administration
Publication Number3666117

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