Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Tamara J. Williams


Due to the increasingly complex nature of work in school systems, leaders are often faced with sorting through a multitude of competing priorities as they work to implement strategic change at the district level. Coherence is needed to filter through the many competing priorities and provide clarity as to the next steps district leadership should take when implementing changes. Understanding the current reality of a district in regard to a proposed change initiative is one critical step along the path to approaching coherence. This study explored how one urban, Midwestern school district evaluated the perceptions of staff members regarding implementation of professional learning communities as a districtwide strategic initiative. A baseline survey was used to identify the current beliefs and practices of faculty regarding professional learning community practices that currently exist within the research site. Survey responses from 188 participants were disaggregated by building and staffing group prior to being analyzed for areas of coherence and incoherence in beliefs. Results indicated that levels of coherence varied among building and staffing groups with regards to current levels of professional learning community implementation. The survey results also indicated a lack of coherence regarding the definition of the strategy being implemented by the school district. Implications of this research include gathering baseline data regarding current perceptions of involved staff members prior to implementing districtwide strategic change and analyzing those perceptions for areas of incoherence prior to moving forward with the proposed initiative.


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 2019 Ashley Tomjack.

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