Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2022

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

Advisor

Catherine Biddle

Second Committee Member

Ian Mette

Third Committee Member

Debra Lewis Hogate

Additional Committee Members

Tammy Mills

Paul Knowles

Abstract

SCHOOL PRINCIPALS AND INSTRUCTIONAL COACHES: AN EXAMINATION OF THEIR WORKING RELATIONSHIPS IN MAINE SCHOOLS

By Theresa J Gillis

Dissertation Advisor: Dr. Catharine Biddle

An Abstract of the Dissertation Proposal

Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the

Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

(in Education)

August 2022

School principals are charged with being instructional leaders and yet they are tasked with obligations and face daily challenges that often make this an unrealistic expectation. According to the Maine Department of Education, 225 instructional coaches work in 53 Maine school districts. Instructional coaches provide feedback and support for teachers geared towards professional growth. This study will explore how instructional coaches and school principals can work together to support teaching and learning. While both school principals and instructional coaches “share the ultimate goal of effecting positive change” (Hall & Simeral, 2008, p. 23) their relationships may not always promote this way of thinking.

This study consisted of 32 interviews (16 instructional coaches and 16 school principals) held over Zoom. The interview questions were created to gain information as to what affects the relationships between a school principal and the instructional coach as well as the conditions within the schools that have an impact on these relationships. The participants were asked to define instructional leadership and their responses point to a collective responsibility with both instructional coaches and school principals working together to support teachers. The findings from this study illustrate the ways in which coaches, administrators and teachers can benefit from these professional relationships.

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