Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Adviser

Beachum, Floyd D.

Other advisers/committee members

White, George P.; Sperandio, Jill I.; Kensler, Lisa A W.


A competitive international school market is influential to the increased pressure on American-sponsored overseas schools to recruit and retain high-quality teachers. Teachers who feel they have more input into school decisions are more likely to desire employment at such schools, or once at the school, are more likely to stay for a longer period (Ingersoll, 2001; Mancuso, 2010). Purposefully developing teacher leadership in international schools may be a way to recruit and retain the best teachers (Weston, 2014), who positively influence school effectiveness and student learning results. With this study, I aimed to support American-sponsored overseas schools with recruiting and retaining the most effective teachers to fulfill their missions and contribute to the research base on variables that support teacher leadership to enhance school effectiveness within the unique context of American-sponsored overseas schools. With a multistage census sampling methodology, I investigated the type of leadership and intensity of leadership activities teachers perform and explored the extent school level variables teachers perceived to support the enactment of teacher leadership. The findings included (a) the large majority of teachers reported a high level and intensity of teacher leadership activities; (b) teachers desired more leadership responsibility; (c) teachers generally agreed that their schools provided the necessary supports for teacher leadership; (d) significant correlations were evident between teacher leadership levels and the school supports in the areas of organizational structure collaborative leadership, professional development, school culture in which teachers support each other, and school culture of trust; (e) no significant correlations existed between levels of teacher leadership and organizational structure autonomy, time, recognition, or role clarity; and (f) teachers who reported their schools to have a school culture, in which teachers support one another, also reported a greater number of leadership activities. No other school support variables had a significant correlation with leadership intensity. Teacher leaders feel supported, and they thrive in schools where leaders develop trusting relationships, promote an environment in which teachers support one another, establish collaborative leadership structures, and provide meaningful professional development opportunities. Teacher leadership has potentially positive implications for teacher retention and student learning.