Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educ Foundations & Leadership


Educational Leadership

Committee Director

Karen Sanzo

Committee Member

Yonghee Suh

Committee Member

Rachel White


The teacher leader phenomenon is plagued with uncertainty but has potential to be a catalyst for building school capacity and increasing school improvement. Questions remain about defining teacher leadership, roles of teacher leaders, and how they carry out a quasi-leadership role in a traditionally hierarchical system. Research on micropolitics in education, specifically how micropolitical influences within an organization affect teacher leader selection and enactment, is lacking. This phenomenologically informed study explored micropolitical influences on teacher leader selection and enactment through the shared experiences of teacher leaders and administrators. Purposeful, criterion sampling was used to select administrator and teacher leader participants. Interviews were the main source of data and were transcribed and coded using in vivo, descriptive, and causation coding. Findings were consistent with previous research on teacher leadership and identity. However, two starting points for teacher leader selection emerged that placed more emphasis on administrator influence and less on teacher leadership preparation programs than previously suggested by research. The administrators’ influence was found to affect other micropolitical factors, creating a domino effect that allowed teacher leadership to thrive or collapse. Implications for school, district, and collegiate levels are discussed suggesting these levels must work together to alleviate uncertainty around teacher leadership. A universal teacher leader preparation program would establish a common understanding of the role as well as training and preparation for administrators to prepare them to identify, select, and develop teacher leaders. With better understanding of teacher leadership, micropolitical influences that have an adverse impact can be curtailed.