Dana Walker

Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


College of Education


Doolittle, Gini


School principals; Professional learning communities


Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


The overloaded role of the principal is a reality in every district (Evans, 1996; Fullan, 2008). Principals are second only to teachers among school-related factors in student learning (Leithwood, Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004) yet professional learning opportunities for principals suffer at the expense of seemingly more important tasks. In order for principals to be successful in the expected role of instructional leadership (NAESP, 2008), districts must create opportunities for both content and leadership learning (Darling-Hammond, Meyerson, LaPointe, & Orr, 2010). Experts are beginning to realize that professional development for principals is essential to a school and distric's success (Darling-Hammond et al., 2010). The participants in this study formed a Principal Professional Learning Community to strengthen their knowledge of Professional Learning Communities (DuFour and Eaker, 1998; Hord & Sommers, 2008), Understanding by Design (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) and coaching techniques (Kee, Anderson, Dearing, Harris, & Shuster, 2010; Kise, 2006). The Action Research in this mixed methods study advocates for job embedded professional development and provided the elementary principals in Journey Township with horizontal learning opportunities (Blankstein, 2010) that will facilitate the reciprocal accountability (Elmore, 2000) that is needed as districts work to build capacity. Though context specific (Creswell, 2009), this study will help the reader draw conclusions on whether a Principal Professional Learning Community is an effective infrastructure to support individual and organizational learning (Senge, 2006).