Zora Wolfe: 0000-0001-6161-9235

Kim-Kathie Knudsen: 0000-0002-3089-5859

Kim-Kathie Knudsen: 0000-0001-9491-5145




Educational leaders are tasked with many managerial responsibilities as well as instructional leadership roles. However, effective instructional leadership is a critical factor in improving student achievement. The purpose of this study was to explore how instructional leadership is distributed within a school organization, specifically examining the perceptions of district, building, and teacher leaders in relation to their roles in instructional leadership and the barriers to effective instructional leadership. Qualitative interviews were conducted with district office leaders, building leaders, and instructional coaches, and their responses to the questions were reviewed, categorized, and coded using Crewell’s Data Analysis Spiral (2011).

Data from this study showed: 1) the definition and expectations of instructional leadership vary across different roles, and 2) challenges in the fulfillment of instructional leadership roles indicate systematic issues that could be addressed through changes in resource (staff and time) allocation. These findings suggest practical recommendations for districts to more efficiently and effectively provide instructional leadership, beginning with explicit conversations to determine a common understanding of instructional leadership, and examining how to build capacity in all staff to fulfill the responsibilities within a school, so instructional leadership can be prioritized by building leaders.



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