Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. C. Elliott Ostler

Second Advisor

Dr. Tamara J. Williams


Mathematics curriculum reform is changing the content and resources in today’s elementary classrooms as well as the culture of mathematics teaching and learning. Administrators face the challenge of leading large-scale curricular change efforts with limited prior knowledge or experiences with reform curricula structures. Administrators, as the bridge between district and building-level initiatives, are in a unique position to impact and drive change. However, they face increasing responsibilities in their demanding roles and draw on their beliefs and leadership abilities to take action. Increased beliefs in their abilities as leaders, known as self-efficacy, guide administrators to commit and persevere during times of change and influence their effectiveness. In a quest to equitably enact sustainable curricular change, school districts are reviewing how to best support administrators through professional development in areas such as mathematics. The purpose of this study was to examine one Midwestern, suburban school district’s efforts to provide professional development for elementary administrators in the area of mathematics instructional leadership. The concurrent transformative mixed-methods study examined the self-efficacy of 38 elementary administrators during a mathematics curriculum adoption year. Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory and self-efficacy construct (1977) framed this mixed-methods study which aimed to answer whether professional development for administrators impacted their self-efficacy as instructional leaders of mathematics. Pre- and post-survey results from the Administrator Self-Efficacy Scale for Mathematics revealed that subject-specific professional development increased administrators’ mathematics instructional leadership self-efficacy. In addition, evidence indicated that district-led professional development activities narrowed the gap between administrators’ general and mathematics instructional leadership self-efficacy during the initial curriculum adoption year. Qualitative findings based on naturalistic inquiry and document analysis collection methods provided further insight into the professional development activities leading to significant quantitative outcomes. Conclusions and implications may serve school districts and administrators as they plan or review their professional development processes especially when enacting curricular change. In addition, district leaders utilizing Bandura’s four sources of self-efficacy as a framework provides more high-quality professional development for administrators.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2017 Kelly M. Gomez Johnson.

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