Distributed Leadership in Elementary Schools: An Exploratory Multiple Case Study

The purpose of this study was to explore distributed leadership and how leadership practices are actualized in three selected schools in Southern California. This qualitative, multiple case study used survey research and interviews to assess how distributed leadership was practiced in three selected elementary schools located within one school district in Southern California. The major findings of this study are (a) teacher leadership emerges from principal leadership and influences the way distributed leadership is practiced and experienced, (b) teachers view their school as a decentralized model as opposed to a distributed model, and (c) teacher leadership is the outcome of multiple leaders needed. I collected survey data and interview data to explore, analyze, and triangulate, and my research method consisted of open coding, specifically breaking concepts, the interview data, and the survey data into categories, pieces, chunks, and dimensions to create “building blocks of theory” to lead to the major themes. The findings from this study can guide educational leaders to increase, spread, and develop leadership systems at the elementary school level.


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