Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership

Committee Director

Karen Sanzo

Committee Member

Jonna Bobzien

Committee Member

Steve Myran


In 2004, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) aligned to language found in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA 2004). This reauthorization required students with disabilities to have access to the same curriculum as their non-disabled peers. This languages means that practices in instruction and assessment for students with disabilities must be aligned to the academic content standards established in each state (Parrish & Stodden, 2009). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of school leadership within the context of teacher collaboration and the factors that contribute to their level of leadership and participation. The design of this research process focused on exploring and understanding the role of school leaders in rural public school settings in collaborative process between general and special educators. Qualitative research where the researcher will subscribe to the social constructivism paradigm and a phenomenological hermeneutic method were used. The scope of the study consisted of observing regular and special education teachers engaged in a collaborative planning and delivery of instruction followed by interviews with school leaders.