Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type



Feinstein School of Education and Human Development

Department (Manual Entry)

Education Doctoral Program


Instructional leadership is focused on elevating teaching and learning for the purpose of improved student achievement (King, 2002). There are many styles of school leadership represented in educational leadership research, yet there is not an abundance of research on high school teachers’ perspectives regarding instructional leadership. The purpose of this study was to examine the phenomenon of effective instructional leadership through teachers’ experiences. Using six core practices of effective instructional leadership as the frame for the phenomenological study, eight teachers were interviewed from two high schools in two school districts in Rhode Island. Four teachers from each school shared their experiences and provided details about what they understood to be an effective instructional leader through one-on-one interviews. Using transcendental phenomenology as the methodology to analyze the interview data, I compared and contrasted the findings of teachers at both high schools. My conceptual framework was based primarily on the works of Darling-Hammond, Meyerson, LaPointe, and Orr (2010) and Leithwood, Harris, and Hopkins (2008). I analyzed the data by developing structural and textural themes to examine the teachers’ experiences in describing the phenomenon of effective instructional leadership. The result of this study is a composite textural-structural description of the essence of the core practices that embody effective instructional, school leadership. The study focuses on how the teachers have made sense of and understood the practices of instructional leaders. The major core essence is building interpersonal skills with teachers through setting goals, establishing open communication, and building trust. This study offers a unique view into teachers’ lived experiences and perspective of effective instructional leadership.