Date of Award

Winter 12-21-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Philip O. Pendley

Second Advisor

Dr. Martinrex Kedziora

Third Advisor

Dr. Emily Shaw


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to discover and describe how exemplary National Blue Ribbon Elementary School teachers improve student learning through effective coaching conversations with their principals. A second purpose was to explore the barriers they encountered to holding these conversations and actions they took to overcome barriers. The theoretical framework for this study was grounded in Lev Vygotsky’s sociohistorical viewpoints of development which relies on social interaction as an ingredient in the process of learning.

Methodology: This study employed a qualitative methodology utilizing in-depth and semi-structured interviews of 12 participants. Participants were identified in collaboration with the participants in a related thematic study. The researcher collected and coded data collected via the interviews. The interview protocol was directly correlated to the research questions for this study.

Findings: Examination of data indicated an assortment of findings. Participants identified nine major themes for how they develop coaching conversations with their principals. Four major barriers were identified, along with additional actions taken to overcome these barriers. The most common findings were relative to trust, collaboration, and communication.

Conclusions: Conclusions included actions that should be taken by both principals and teachers in order to foster relationships and school cultures that result in coaching conversations focused on student learning. Participants in this study preferred engaging in coaching conversations to improve student learning as opposed to more formal evaluations.

Recommendations: Eleven areas of further research were recommended to expand the body of literature based on the findings and conclusions of this study.