Date of Award



© 2016 Leigh Alley

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Michelle Collay

Second Advisor

Brianna Parsons

Third Advisor

Anita Charles


Through instrumental case study, this research sought to better understand a potentially effective model for rural principals’ professional development, illustrated by one bounded case--here a self-convened professional learning community. Research questions included inquiry into the needs or interests that compel these area principals to participate in the PLC; the benefits and challenges of their participation in the professional learning community; how the participating principals would characterize their professional growth associated with participation in the PLC; and the recommendations participants would offer to other rural principals interested in convening a professional learning community. Though the case may or may not be typical of other cases, this study can inform rural principals in other settings seeking to create professional learning communities. And though much more needs to be known about professional support for rural principals--as well as about effective models for rural principals’ learning--the participants in this case study avow that their PLC is a personalized, effective, and valuable learning resource for them all--particularly in providing them with a safe learning environment in which to enjoy social community and support for troubleshooting problems unique to their rural context.


Ed.D. Dissertation