Date of Award



© 2019 Amanda M. Doyle

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Michelle Collay

Second Advisor

Kimberly Roberts-Morandi

Third Advisor

Susan Tarver


This action research cross-case comparison study is set at an independent school in Maine which serves approximately 1,600 students in grades 6-12. Recently, the administrative team of the school articulated an academic strategic plan focused on increasing student achievement as measured by standardized test scores. The changes created a challenge because administrators raised expectations and accountability of staff members with respect to professional performance. The current climate in the institution presents an opportunity to provide a sense of direction and support for faculty through thoughtful leadership and professional development (PD) programming to support their progress on meeting the goals set by the administration. This study documented the needs of the school’s teachers and provided a plan for supporting these educators throughout the ongoing process of professional growth amidst change. Nine participants were interviewed and the resulting data were categorized using Drago-Severson’s Four Pillars of Professional Development Practice. Results were considered within the context of turbulent change as suggested by Gross’ turbulence theory. In the interviews, teachers shared a desire for professional development which was authentic and mutually supported through the reflection of their peers. The implications of this study are that professional development providers and administrators of schools with a great deal of teacher and leadership autonomy would be well served to understand and support the professional goals of the individuals among their faculty.


Ed.D. Dissertation