Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Educational leadership--Iowa--Case studies; Teachers--Salaries, etc.--Iowa--Case studies; Educational law and legislation--Iowa--Case studies;


Thirty-one years ago, in 1983, the report “A Nation at Risk” (Denning, 1983) declared that teacher preparation systems were ill equipped to provide teachers the deep content knowledge they would need in order to be successful, that salaries were much too low, and that we needed to do a better job of recruiting young people into the profession. The 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) is a call to action, one in which we are reminded that student achievement is stagnant or slipping around the country. In Iowa, attention to the topic of education reform intensified with the election of Terry Branstad as governor in November 2011. Iowa House File 215 is Iowa’s attempt to put into place, with the Teacher Leadership and Compensation System, the very suggestions that were first mentioned in 1983. We know that teacher leadership is important and central to the way schools operate (York-Barr & Duke, 2004), and schools with strong performance have been shown to have integrated leadership structures where teachers are empowered to make decisions (Marks & Printy, 2003; Neumerski, 2012). However, we also know that unsupportive principals, teacher leadership roles that are not well articulated, and resistance among teachers can lead to unsuccessful teacher leadership systems (Mangin, 2007).

This single case studied the early implementation of a teacher leadership and compensation system in a select Iowa school district by interviewing key district informants and analyzing the planning documents employed during the launch of the selected system.

The following conclusions were reached: (1) the appointment of teacher leaders within the confines of the law is challenging; (2) the role of the building principal has become more demanding during the early implementation phase with a greater emphasis on instruction as opposed to management; (3) minimal resistance was found just below the surface and related to a claim that collaboration time was lost among teachers; (4) minor changes to the system are likely and necessary during implementation; (5) a perception persists that funding for teacher leadership is available for three years; and finally (6) training for teacher leaders is considered a critical component of successful implementation.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education

First Advisor

Vickie Robinson

Date Original




File Format