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Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Department or Program Affiliation

Woodring College of Education

Degree Name

Doctorate of Education


Education Leadership and Inclusive Teaching

First Advisor

Bruce, Tim (Professor)

Second Advisor

Robertson, Wayne Thomas

Third Advisor

Bruner, Carl


The role of the school administrator and teacher leadership has become increasingly embedded within education. Extensive research and literature suggests teacher leaders are critical in reforming schools. Strong professional learning communities (PLCs) recognize that teacher leadership development must be a purposeful and formal component of their culture. The purpose of this quantitative study was to understand the impact of having or not having a guiding coalition (GC) on the overall success of schools properly implementing and sustaining PLCs.

This study explored the perceptions of secondary school administrators throughout Washington State on the five dimensions of PLCs as delineated by the Professional Learning Communities Assessment – Revised (PLCA-R). One hundred and three respondents participated. Insight into sustained PLC development and operation was sought from the results focused on quantitative data from the PLCA-R. The six dimensions measured by the PLCA-R are:

  • Shared in Support of Leadership,

  • Shared Values and Vision,

  • Collective Learning and Application,

  • Shared Personal Practice,

  • Supportive Conditions – Relationships, and

  • Supportive Conditions – Structures.

The data were analyzed using means, standard deviations, and t scores using a Welch's t test.

The results unequivocally indicate that the establishment of a focused GC is imperative to successfully implementing PLCs in schools. The data also revealed that there was not a statistically significant difference in any of the dimensions of the PLCA-R between schools who were not PLCs and schools that claimed to be PLCs but did not establish a GC as outlined by Solution Tree. The final conclusion of this study is that schools who do not take the time to establish an authentic GC as part of their PLC process are doomed to what Reeves and DuFour call PLC Lite and should seek out other improvement efforts other than PLCs.




Guiding Coalition, PLC, Distributive Leadership


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Professional learning communities; Educational leadership; School management and organization; School improvement programs; Team learning approach in education; Teacher participation in administration




doctoral dissertations




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