Date of Award

Spring 4-6-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Donna Sonnenburg

Second Advisor

Dr. Keith Larick

Third Advisor

Dr. Donna Campbell


The purpose of this qualitative study was to discover the principal leadership practices perceived as supporting the development of professional learning communities and a sustainable collaborative culture. In addition, it was the purpose of this study to examine principal leadership practices school teachers in Antelope Valley School Districts perceive as important to creating a sustainable professional learning community. This study contributed to the literature to understand the important leadership practices that support the implementation and sustainability of professional learning communities. The participants in the present study were elementary principals and teachers implementing professional learning communities in Antelope Valley elementary school districts. This study was designed using qualitative interviews and focus group discussions. Principals participated in an initial demographic online questionnaire and face-to-face interviews and teachers participated in focus group discussions. Examination of the qualitative data indicated that principals and teachers perceive that the leadership practices of collaboration, having a clear focus, creating a data-driven environment, and developing accountability were the most important leadership practices needed in the implementation and sustainability of a collaborative community. Under the practice of collaboration, supporting teachers during the collaboration process was most important. Second, was the practice of having a clear focus, focusing on collective goals and building a clear purpose was most important. Third, was the practice of creating a data-driven environment, using student achievement data to improve teaching practices and student learning was important. Last, was the practice of creating accountability, creating individual and group accountability for the goals and student achievement was important. This study data support the conclusion that the leadership practices of collaboration, having a clear focus, data-driven inquiry, and holding everyone accountable to the goals were needed in the development and sustainability of a collaborative school culture. Future research is advised. Recommendations include the study of the following: How principal collaboration supports the implementation of professional learning communities. What practice do superintendents and central office leaders perceive as important for developing and sustaining collaborative communities? Future research could be conducted on the actual classroom practices as a result of professional learning communities and the impact on student learning.