Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2022

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership


Catharine Biddle

Second Committee Member

Ian Mette

Third Committee Member

Maria Frankland


The purpose of this study was to investigate the implementation and teacher leadership of collaborative work in the era of hybrid and online learning necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic in a medium-sized suburban/rural high school in central Maine. In situations of intense challenge like this, collaborating with colleagues to produce new teaching and learning modalities can be a beneficial task. Structures like professional learning groups (PLG) provide a means to support and enhance opportunities for just such a task. The study elucidated the levels of implementation of our PLG efforts and sought to inform future use of PLG structures as an approach for collaboration between teachers facing tremendously challenging adaptive circumstances. Collaboration resulted in sharing expertise and enhancement of teachers’ abilities to provide quality classroom instruction. The study makes a reflexive examination of the teacher leadership necessary to initiate, support, encourage, and sustain continued participation in the PLG structure at the school through an examination of the researcher's own leadership. As teachers struggled with novel problems around hybrid teaching and learning in the COVID era, the organization of this effort brought together various levels and types of teacher expertise in interdisciplinary PLGs. It was found that the interdisciplinary composition resulted in the inclusion of often excluded teachers; promoted the development of new relationships; and allowed the focus of the groups to be less on subject oriented material and more on the improvement of teaching and learning under the confines of the pandemic. Thus, group composition and dynamics were key to PLG functioning. It was also evident that leadership decisions and style during the initiative were vital in helping groups overcome the adaptive challenges (Heifetz, 2009) that the circumstances precipitated. The study is presented as an autoethnographic narrative of the researcher’s leadership decisions and style and the impacts those decisions had on the PLG effort.