The roles of classroom teacher leaders in supporting implementation of the interactive mathematics program curriculum

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The roles of classroom teacher leaders in supporting implementation of the interactive mathematics program curriculum
Martin, Catherine Anne
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212 leaves : ; 28 cm


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Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- Case studies -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Master teachers -- Case studies -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Educational leadership -- Case studies -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Educational leadership ( fast )
Master teachers ( fast )
Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Secondary) ( fast )
Colorado ( fast )
Case studies. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Case studies ( fast )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 203-212).
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Catherine Anne Martin.

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Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
54697101 ( OCLC )
LD1190.E3 2003d M37 ( lcc )

Full Text
Catherine Anne Martin
B. S., Midwestern University, 1973
M. A., University of Denver, 1994
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation

2003 by Catherine Anne Martin
All rights reserved.

This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Catherine Anne Martin
has been approved
Laura D. Goodwin
A^xjl, /S',
Barbara Miller

Martin, Catherine Anne (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
The Roles of Classroom Teacher Leaders in Supporting Implementation of the
Interactive Mathematics Program Curriculum
Thesis directed by Professor Laura D. Goodwin
This dissertation is a multi-case study of three teacher leaders activities; their
communication with administrators, parents, counselors, and in-school mathematics
colleagues; and the teachers on-site professional development. The purpose of this
study was to investigate the role of high school teacher leaders in supporting
implementation of the Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP). These teachers were
participants in the Rocky Mountain Mathematics Leadership Collaborative
(RMMLC), a project designed to support and sustain school leaders in mathematics
education reform. Each teacher was further supported through the talents and energy
of school-based leadership teams. Selection criteria for teachers included possessing
leadership characteristics described in the literature, and teaching in schools
representative of the range of RMMLC schools.
Data consisted of a series of three individual interviews with each teacher leader;
single individual interviews with members of the leadership teams; and observations
of leadership team meetings, of teacher leaders in collegial planning meetings, and of
parent nights. Data analyses included concurrent processes of data coding and
reduction, cross-case analyses, and conclusion drawing and verification. Four main
conclusions emerged.
First, informing and educating school communities about mathematics reform was a
major, essential teacher leader activity that continued to be crucial throughout
implementation. Major topics of communication were the philosophy and
mathematics of IMP and indicators of IMP student success. Second, teacher leaders
engaged in multiple mentoring activities designed to support colleagues in various
stages of changing beliefs about teaching and learning and subsequently changing
classroom practices. Third, time within the school day was a pivotal factor in
teachers ability to communicate with school constituencies, to mentor colleagues,
and to engage in their own professional development. Fourth, teacher leaders own

professional development was not consistently embedded in their daily lives.
Implications for practice include the importance of communication designed to meet
stakeholder needs, the need for time for teacher leader work, and selecting mentoring
activities to match needs of colleagues. Implications for further research include
study of: K-8 teacher leaders, long-term impact of leaders work, impact of teacher
leaders work on culture for professional learning.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Laura D. Goodwin

To all of the teacher leaders and leadership team members noted in this study. You
give me the hope and the courage to continue my own work in supporting
mathematics education reform.

This work represents my own years of learning, as a teacher and as a guide for
other teachers, and striving to change beliefs about teaching and learning to create
classrooms that prepare all of our children to engage as thoughtful, informed citizens.
It has become increasingly evident that the work of reform is exhausting; yet in spite
of that, teachers still have the courage to step forth to make schools better places for
It has been my privilege to share this work with others who provided me with
guidance and inspiration to continue on this journey. Thanks to all of you for your
wisdom, support, and belief in me and in my work.
All of the members of my committeeLaura Goodwin, Lew Romagnano, Ellen
Stevens, Lyn Taylor, and Barbara Miller. It has been my privilege to have your
guidance and expertise throughout this process. Thanks, Laura, for serving as my
dissertation advisor; your thoughtful feedback has kept me focused and moving
forward. Thanks, Lew, for making time to help me think through ideas and
challenging me to be rigorous in my work. Ellen and Lyn, thanks for your
feedback and encouragement. And, Barbara, thanks for taking part in this work
by providing your expertise in professional development and teacher leadership.

My colleagues at RMMLCJean Klanica, Jodi Holzman, Alan Olds, and Lisa
Maxfield. Your assistance, Alan, in reading drafts, editing, and listening helped
me to maintain momentum. Jodi, thanks for your willingness to assist in coding,
reading, discussing implications, and being my sounding board. Thanks, Jean,
for helping me to structure my schedule to make time for writing. More
importantly, thank you for initiating Interactive Mathematics in Colorado;
without your leadership, my work would not have occurred. And, Lisa, thanks for
your computer and technical expertise.
And, finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank my family. Dad, you
and mother instilled in me as a child a love for learning that still continues to
grow. You, Paulette, Libby, Mike, and Steve have always encouraged me and
challenged me to aim for the stars. Mike and Debbie, this day would probably
not be possible if not for your intervention some fourteen years ago. I have been
blessed with children who also have encouraged me on this journey and shared in
my excitement and love of learning. Sarah and Amy, your love and
encouragement have been especially evident throughout my studies. And Ray,
this is all possible because of you. Your love, support, and encouragement have
kept me grounded throughout the last 13 years. You are responsible, on a daily
basis, for my ability to pursue my goals and dreams.

Tables .......................................................xviii
1. INTRODUCTION................................................. 1
Purpose of Study......................................... 3
Significance of Study..:................................. 4
Conceptual Framework..... ................................6
Research Questions.....................................11
Teacher Leaders................................... 12
Interactive Mathematics (IMP) Curriculum...........12
Professional Development......................... 13
Selection of Teacher Leaders.......................14
Sources of Data....................................15
Data Analysis......................................15
Organization of the Dissertation........................ 16

The Changing World of Mathematics Education.................18
Teacher Leaders and Their Work..............................21
History of Teacher Leadership........................22
Definition of Teacher Leaders........................26
Characteristics of Teacher Leaders...................28
Teacher Leaders Roles...............................32
Benefits of Teacher Leader Work......................34
Summary...:......................................... 36
Role of Professional Development............................36
Content of Professional Development..................38
Context for Professional Development................ 41
Chapter Summary.............................................43
3. METHODOLOGY................................................... 45
Research Design: Multiple-Case Study........................46
Rationale for Case Study.............................46
Study Design.........................................47
Selection of Teacher Leaders................................49
Selection Criteria...................................50
Selection Process....................................51

Role of Researcher..................................... 52
Data Sources and Collection Methods.......................54
Data Sources.......................................54
Data Collection Methods............................56
Data Analysis Procedures..................................59
Process of Coding Data.............................60
Data Codes.........................................61
Data Display and Conclusion Drawing................64
Trustworthiness of Conclusions............................64
Chapter Summary........................................ 68
4. RESULTS: TEACHER LEADER #1...................................69
Description of Research Setting: Cottonwood High School..69
Cottonwoods Mathematics Leadership Team...........70
Mathematics at Cottonwood..........................72
Cottonwood Teacher Leader: Bruce..........................74
Becoming a Teacher Leader..........................74
A Typical Day......................................76

Research Question 1: What activities do teacher leaders engage
in within schools that are implementing IMP?..............78
Research Question 2: What is the content of teacher leaders
communications with administrators, counselors, parents,
and mathematics colleagues within the school?............ 93
Counselors......................................... 96
Parents............................................ 97
Mathematics Colleagues..............................98
Research Question 3: What is the nature and extent of
professional development that teacher leaders engage in
within their own schools?................................101
Curriculum Mapping...... ......................... 102
Chapter Summary..........................................104
5. RESULTS: TEACHER LEADER #2..........................................106
Description of Research Setting: Dawson School...........106
Dawsons Mathematics Leadership Team...............107
Mathematics at Dawson..............................108

Dawson Teacher Leader: Carol............................110
Background....................................... 110
Becoming a Teacher Leader.........................Ill
A Typical Day.....................................113
Research Question 1: What activities do teacher leaders engage
in within schools that are implementing IMP?............115
Com muni cation...................................119
Research Question 2: What is the content of teacher leaders
communications with administrators, counselors, parents,
and mathematics colleagues within the school?.......... 123
Counselors....................................... 126
Mathematics Colleagues.......................... 130
Research Question 3: What is the nature and extent of
professional development that teacher leaders engage in
within their own schools?...............................132
Chapter Summary....;................................... 135
6. RESULTS: TEACHER LEADER #3.........................................136
Description of Research Setting: Randall High School....136
Randalls Mathematics Leadership Team.............137

Mathematics at Randall...........................139
Randall Teacher Leader: Merle...........................140
Background...................................... 140
Becoming a Teacher Leader........................141
A Typical Day....................................143
Research Question 1: What activities do teacher leaders engage
in within schools that are implementing IMP?............144
Mentoring....................................... 145
Research Question 2: What is the content of teacher leaders
communications with administrators, counselors, parents,
and mathematics colleagues within the school?...........158
Counselors...................................... 161
Parents........................................ 162
Mathematics Colleagues...........................164
Research Question 3: What is the nature and extent of
professional development that teacher leaders engage in
within their own schools?...............................166
Chapter Summary.........................................169
7. DISCUSSION.................................................170

Findings: Similarities and Differences Across the
Three Teacher Leaders.........................................170
Research Question 1: What activities do teacher
leaders engage in within schools that are
implementing IMP?......................................170
Research Question 2: What is the content of teacher
leaders communications with administrators,
counselors, parents, and mathematics colleagues
within the school?.................................178
Research Question 3: What is the nature and extent of
professional development that teacher leaders engage
in within their own schools?.......................183
Implications for Practice.................................185
Teacher Leaders....................................185
Professional Developers............................190
Limitations and Delimitations of the Study and
Recommendations for Further Research......................192
Limitations and Delimitations......................192
Recommendations for Further Research...............193
A. Informed Consent: Teacher Leader.......................195
B. Informed Consent: Leadership Team Members..............196
C. Interview Protocol for Teacher Leaders.................197

D. Interview Protocol for Leadership Team Members........199
E. Observation Protocol..................................200
F. Sample Worksheet of Coding. ..........................201
G. Demographics of Schools...............................202
BIBLIOGRAPHY ..................................................203

1.1 Conceptual Framework...............................................8
3.1 Research Design ...................................................48

3.1 Research Questions and Sources of Data.:.........................55
3.2 Sources and Frequency of Data Collected..........................56
3.3 Codes for Teacher Leader Activities. ............................62
3.4 Codes for Content of Communication...............................63
3.5 Codes for Teacher Leader Professional Development................63
4.1 Cottonwood Mathematics Leadership Team.......... ................71
4.2 Bruces Communication with School Community......................87
5.1 Dawson Mathematics Leadership Team...............................108
5.2 Carols Communication with School Community......................120
6.1 Randall Mathematics Leadership Team....... ...................... 138
6.2 Merles Communication with School Community......................150
7.1 Activities of Teacher Leaders....................................171
7.2 Content of Communication with Administrators, Counselors, Parents,
and Mathematics Colleagues within the School......................174
7.3 Professional Development Activities..............................183

It is no secret that education in the United States is in need of reform; it is
currently a high priority on our nations agenda. Mathematics education is at the
center stage of the discussions about school reform. Results from the Third
International Mathematics and Science Study (TEMSS) revealed that while fourth-
grade children in our country were leaders on this assessment, by twelfth grade our
students were near the bottom (National Commission on Mathematics and Science
Teaching for the 21st Century, 2000). National, state, district, and school standards
are setting new goals and objectives and are the main force in addressing school
reform. Standards, however, may be necessary but certainly not a sufficient condition
for school improvement. Stigler andHiebert (1999) suggested, Standards set the
course, and assessments provide the benchmarks, but it is teaching that must be
improved to push us along the path to success (p. 2).
Improving teaching is fraught with obstacles. For example, teachers have
little opportunity to work with colleagues during the school day. We know, however,
that teachers participation in a professional community is important to both then-
success in teaching and to their self-efficacy (McLaughlin & Talbert, 1993).
Furthermore, Those teachers who made effective adaptations to todays students had

one thing in common: each belong to an active professional community which
encouraged and enabled them to transform their teaching (p. 7). Despite these
findings, American classrooms continue to remain the private dominions of teachers
who have few opportunities to engage with colleagues in examining and in
improving their collective teaching practices (Stigler & Hebert, 1999).
High-quality professional development is an essential element of improving
teaching. Unfortunately, staff development has often been seen as a one-time stopgap
measure, termed a deficit model (McLaughlin & Marsh, 1990), because it was
designed to deliver in-service to teachers who were thought to be lacking needed
skills. Further, this staff development was often delivered void of the context of the
school with little thought about supporting ongoing collegial interactions.
As more and more schools adopt standards-based mathematics curricula,
educational leaders (e.g., Barth, 1990; Fullan, 1991) are finding that school
communities must be involved in this conversation. What is evident is that supporting
and sustaining the implementation of a reform mathematics program in schools is a
complex process that involves informing and gaining the support of all the
stakeholders in the educational community (Goldsmith, Mark, & Kantrov, 1998).
Lambert (1998) noted, A typical missing piece in reform efforts is a comprehensive
information system that involves everyone at their varied stages of thinking and
talking about the issues at hand (p. 19).

Teacher leadership remains a vast, largely untapped resource, a sleeping
giant, that has the potential to act as a strong catalyst in school change. Teacher
leadership has this potential, in part, because teachers comprise the largest group of
schools employees and are situated closest to students (Katzenmeyer & Moller,
2001). Thus, teacher leadership has the promise of creating a culture within schools
in which teachers can leam with and from each other as they work together to
improve their individual and collective practices.
Purpose of Study
Teacher leadership is not a new construct; however, it is one that is receiving
increased attention as schools struggle to provide a standards-based mathematics
education for all students. One response to this struggle is to engage teacher leaders
as a resource to support their colleagues in creating a vision of standards-based
classrooms and transforming that vision into a reality. Although schools have
typically vested leadership in administrators, Lambert (1998) noted that principals
tend to come and go while the majority of the teaching staff remains intact.
Therefore, she suggested, A school must build its own teacher leaders if it is to stay
afloat, assume internal responsibility for reform, and maintain a momentum for self-
renewal (p. 3).

The Rocky Mountain Mathematics Leadership Collaborative1 (RMMLC) is a
project that supports teachers in assuming non-traditional leadership roles within
middle schools and high schools in the Rocky Mountain Region. RMMLC schools
engage the talent and energy of teacher leaders and of school-based mathematics
leadership teams to support and sustain the work of mathematics education reform.
Mathematics teacher leaders and their colleagues in RMMLC schools are engaged in
the implementation of a standards-based mathematics program. Within all RMMLC
high schools, the Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP) serves as the mathematics
curriculum. The purpose of this study was to investigate the roles of RMMLC high
school teacher leaders in supporting the implementation of the IMP curriculum and in
building a professional culture to support ongoing teacher learning.
Significance of Study
While there is certainly not a plethora of research on teacher leadership, it is a
concept that is receiving more and more attention, especially within the last decade.
Katzenmeyer and Moller (1996) described teacher leaders as those teachers who
lead within and beyond the classroom, influence others toward improved
educational practice, and identify and contribute to a community of teacher leaders
(p. 6). This definition suggests that teacher leaders do have the potential through their
1 This project is supported with funding from the National Science Foundation (award number 99-119-

practice to influence the culture of a school as standards-based mathematics is being
Much of the existing literature on teacher leadership focuses primarily on
describing the specific roles of teacher leaders and on examining the constraints
affecting teacher leadership. Most of the studies, too, describe the work of teacher
leaders who often are released from classroom teaching as they work with other
teachers. While some studies describe the characteristics of teacher leaders, little has
been written about the work specific to teacher leaders in implementing standards-
based mathematics curricula.
This study broadened the research base on teacher leadership by examining
the roles of teacher leaders in supporting change in high school mathematics. Since
teacher leaders in this study are members of their school mathematics leadership
team, this study also provided a description of how these teachers communicate and
interact with other community members. Furthermore, this study enhanced and
extended existing research by describing the work of teacher leaders who have
grounded their leadership work in their daily work as classroom teachers. The
findings from this study are relevant to local, state, and national leaders in
mathematics education as teachers across the nation endeavor to create standards-
based classrooms.

Conceptual Framework
Implementation of a reform mathematics curriculum is a process of
constructing change within a school. While this implementation might initially seem
to impact only the mathematics teachers, in actuality, it involves the entire school:
Sustained change in teachers learning opportunities and practices
will require sustained investment in the infrastructure of reform. This
means investment in the development of the institutions and
environmental supports that will promote the spread of ideas and
shared learning.... (Lambert, 1995, p; 598)
Furthermore, the professional development that is required for standards-
based curriculum implementation within contemporary schools must embrace not
only the teachers involved but also the organization with which the teacher is
affiliated. The school principal and his/her administrative team play a significant role
in this process. Barth (1990) posited, The professional growth of teachers is closely
related to relationships within schools, between teacher and principal, and between
teacher and teacher... the principal can be a catalyst assisting teacher growth (p.
50). Fullan (1991) noted that the principal has the central role:
in working with teachers to shape the school as a workplace in
relation to shared goals, teacher collaboration, teacher learning
opportunities, teacher certainty, teacher commitment, and student
learning, (p. 161)
Professional development for change implementation must also focus on
school systems because of their powerful influences on teachers and teaching:
This can occur indirectly through the structures and policies that can
help or hinder a teachers efforts and directly through the nature of

professional development that is offered. School systems have a key
role in developing leadership in their teachers. (Loucks-Horsley,
Hewson, Love, & Stiles, 1998, p. 14)
Acknowledging the interdependencies of teachers work and the context of
school communities, Lambert (1995) and Betts (1992) advocated a systems
perspective to understand the complex process of change in schools. Senge (1990)
described systems thinking as a discipline for seeing the structures that underlie
complex situations, and for discerning high from low leverage change (p. 69). Senge
further characterized systems thinking as a shift of mind from seeing parts to seeing
wholes, from seeing people as helpless reactors to seeing them as active participants
in shaping their reality, from reacting to the present to creating the future (p. 69).
This seeing of wholes rather than simply parts may well be a way to get past the
incoherent and fragmented nature of many innovations in schools (Banathy, 1991).
Furthermore, a systems approach to studying the work of teacher leaders has the
added advantage that it provides a lens to examine that work in the context of the
school community. Smylie (1995) argued that teacher leadership is an organizational
It occurs, is influenced by, and exerts influence on the structural,
social, political, and cultural dimensions of school organizations. It
is very difficult to understand teacher leadership without also
understanding the contexts in which it functions, (p. 6)
Therefore, the school community (acting as a system) creates a boundary for studying
the work of teacher leaders (see Figure 1.1).

Figure 1.1: Conceptual Framework
School Community
Leadership Team
Math Colleagues
Leadership Lens
All aspects of
teacher leader
work: interactions,
in classroom, in
activities of teacher
inquiry Lens
with Stakeholders

Lambert suggested in order to understand the nature of change in schools one
must use four lenses: the leadership lens, patterns of relationships, inquiry and the
role of information, and breaking set with old assumptions (1995, p. 56).
The leadership lens is a way of conceptualizing how to bring all the parts,
stakeholders in the community and teacher leader activities, together to create a
whole that constitutes the implementation of IMP at the school. In the case of teacher
leadership, the leadership lens provides a perspective for examining teacher
leaders work with the school community: administrators, counselors, parents, and
mathematics Colleagues. This lens focuses on examining, as a whole, the activities of
the teacher leaders, including their leadership activities, their work in the classroom,
and their engagement in professional learning.
As stated above, teachers work is not conducted in isolation. Rather, it is
woven inextricably within and around the relationships and patterns of relationships
between and among the stakeholders in the school community. The patterns of
relationships lens suggests that teacher leaders work must be examined with respect
to the interactions with others as they (all stakeholders collectively) construct an
understanding of IMP and the impact of IMP on their school mathematics. The
patterns of relationships lens further provides insight into how the development of
these relationships aids in sustaining the changes being made.
The lens of inquiry and the role of information concentrates on the critical
role of communication within the relationships described above. Part of the critical

role of communication for teachers is to have ready access to information that others
within the school community typically possess, such as, school schedules and school
budgets. This lens also is used to examine both with whom teacher leaders
communicate and the content of that communication. In addition, this lens is used to
examine the professional learning these leaders engage in as they inquire into their
own teaching practices.
Finally, the breaking set with old assumptions lens focuses on broadening
the boundaries of teacher leaders work because as teacher leaders interact with
others they begin to assume leadership for what matters to themin terms of their
teaching and in terms of the school community. Thus, this lens is used to examine all
aspects of the role of teacher leaders.
These four lenses-pattems of relationships lens, leadership lens, inquiry and
the role of information lens, and breaking set with old assumption lensprovide
ways of examining the phenomenon of teacher leadership in RMMLC schools
implementing IMP. At the center of the framework is the teacher leaders work that
surrounds the implementation of IMP. Teacher leaders, while supporting their
colleagues in this implementation are, at the same time, developing and refining their
own understanding of mathematics, their understanding of student-centered
classrooms and implications of this classroom for their own practice, and their
understanding of assessment that is an integral part of informing instruction. Hence,
one side of the IMP triangle suggests that teacher leaders themselves are engaged

in the study of curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment while supporting their
colleagues in this study. The other two sides of the IMP triangle signify that part of
RMMLC teacher leaders work is focused on creating a culture of collaborative
learning to serve as a vehicle for sustaining ongoing teacher learning at the school.
Research Questions
The overarching question of this study is: What are the roles of classroom teacher
leaders in supporting implementation of the Interactive Mathematics Program
curriculum? Specific questions that guided the study are:
What activities do teacher leaders engage in within Schools that are
implementing IMP?
What is the content of teacher leaders communications with administrators,
counselors, parents, and mathematics colleagues within the school?
What is the nature and extent of professional development that teacher leaders
engage in within their own schools?
What common themes occur across the teacher leaders, and what are the
major differences?

The following definitions served to explicate important terms found in this
Teacher Leaders
For purposes of this study, teacher leaders are teachers who have taken on
roles and responsibilities beyond their own classrooms as they teach IMP and are
members of the RMMLC mathematics leadership team in their schools. Furthermore,
these teachers exhibit the following behaviors: display positive attitudes about and
enthusiasm for their work in promoting mathematics reform, devote time to whatever
needs to be done to support the implementation of IMP, and work with colleagues to
improve teaching practices (LeBlanc & Shelton, 1997). For purposes of this study,
too, teacher leaders do not necessarily have formal titles or roles or have release time
to work as a leader.
Interactive Mathematics Program CIMP1 Curriculum
The IMP curriculum is a standards-based curriculum designed to embody the
principles and perspectives of the NCTM Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for
School Mathematics (1989). IMP is a four-year, college-preparatory curriculum that
integrates not only the various strands of mathematics throughout units in each year

of the curriculum but also integrates mathematics with other subject areas (e.g.,
literature, history, science). In the IMP curriculum, the study of mathematics is
organized around open-ended problems that create a need for students to learn more
mathematics in order to solve these problems. This curriculum also expands the
content scope of high school mathematics to include probability, statistics, and
discrete mathematics and is designed for study in heterogeneous classrooms of
students. IMP, as a standards-based curriculum includes the essential aspects of
mathematical content, mathematical processes, attitudes toward mathematics, and
views of teaching and learning (Goldsmith et al., 1998, p. 10).
Professional Development.
Futrell (2000) defined professional development as including deliberate
learning activities undertaken by individual teachers or groups of teachers to improve
policy, curriculum, or their professional knowledge and skills with a view toward
more effectively teaching all students (p. 132). These learning activities include
ones such as reading of professional articles and discussion of those articles with
colleagues and analysis of and reflection on classroom practice, both individually and
collaboratively. Futtrells definition serves as the operational definition for purposes
of this study.

A multiple-case study approach was used in this qualitative study. Yin (1994)
characterized a case study as inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon
within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and
context are not clearly evident (p. 13). To understand the work of teacher leaders
requires an understanding of the contexts within which that leadership is situated
(Smylie, 1995). Furthermore, mathematics teacher leaders work is connected with
the context of both the mathematics department and the culture of the school;
therefore, both contexts warranted examination.
Selection of Teacher Leaders
Three teacher leaders were selected from those teachers participating in the
Rocky Mountain Mathematics Leadership Collaborative. Selection criteria for these
leaders included: possession of leadership characteristics described in the literature;
having at least one-year of classroom teaching experience; currently teaching IMP
and currently part of the school mathematics leadership team at school. Teachers
were also chosen from schools with less than four years of IMP in place and chosen
to represent the range of RMMLC schools. Finally, no more than one teacher leader
from any RMMLC school was selected.

Sources of Data
Data were collected from multiple sources within the schools of the three
teacher leaders. First, I conducted a series of three interviews with each teacher
leader and interviewed all members of the leadership team including an
administrator, a counselor, a parent, and the teacher leaders mathematics colleagues.
Secondly, I observed the teacher leaders in their classrooms, in planning meetings
with mathematics colleagues, at school mathematics leadership team meetings, and at
parent nights. Additionally, I obtained and examined minutes from leadership team
meetings, the 2001-2002 leadership team plans for the three schools, and parent night
plans. Finally, I collected background information for each school including
demographics, class schedules, and enrollment data.
Data Analysis
The data were analyzed using qualitative data techniques as suggested by
Miles and Huberman (1994). Analysis included three concurrent processes: data
coding and reduction, cross-case analyses, and conclusion drawing and verification.
Interviews were initially transcribed and then assigned codes that emerged from the
data. I followed the coding process with creating tables to organize the coded data
and to make patterns more visible. I further used a computer worksheet to sort coded
data, thereby aiding me in drawing conclusions.

Organization of the Dissertation
Chapter 2 presents a brief description of the historical context for change that
influences mathematics education reform, a review of the literature on teacher
leadership pertinent to this study, and a review of current literature on professional
development. Chapter 3 describes the methodology used in this study, including the
teacher leader selection process, the data sources, the procedures employed in data
collection, and a description of the data analysis procedures. Results obtained for
each teacher leader are described in Chapters 4-6 along with descriptions of the
school settings and background of each teacher leader. Chapter 7 provides a summary
of the study, examines the findings by answering the research questions, compares
and contrasts the findings for the three teacher leaders, draws implications for
practice, and suggests topics for further research.

The purpose of this study is to examine the roles of teacher leaders in
supporting implementation of the Interactive Mathematics Program. In this study, the
teacher leaders are also members of a school mathematics leadership team charged
with the goal of supporting and sustaining reform in mathematics education. While
the work of teacher leaders has been previously described in the literature (e.g.,
Lortie, 1975; Smylie & Denny, 1990, Wasley, 1991), little is known about the
phenomenon of teacher leadership in the context of standards-based mathematics
curriculum implementation.
In the first section of this chapter, I provide a brief description of the
historical context for change that informs current thinking in mathematics education.
In the second section, I present a review of teacher leadership by first examining the
definitions of teacher leader and the characteristics of these leaders. A description of
the history and roles for teacher leaders follows. Next, I examine the literature to
review the importance of teacher leaders work. In the third section, I examine the
literature on professional development, including both the content and context for
teacher learning.

The Changing World of Mathematics Education
The last half of the 20th century saw changes in mathematics education swing
from one program to another. Beginning with the new math in the 1950s and
1960s and progressing to the back-to-basics movement in the 1970s (Willoughby,
1990), mathematics was seen as the key to opportunity and global power for our
nation (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1989).
The publication of A Nation at Risk (1983) captured our nations attention
and focused it on education. This document sounded the alarm by reporting that our
squandering of student achievement gains following Sputnik had committed an act
of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament (p. 5).
While the report was controversial, it did signal what some (e.g., NCTM,
1989), refer to as the first-wave of school reform. Recommendations by the National
Commission on Excellence in Education included the improvement of teacher
preparation and improvement in the professionalization of teaching. The Commission
further recommended that administrators engage in leadership roles to develop
support for the reforms proposed by the study. The Commission also called upon
educators, parents, and public officials at all levels to assist in bringing about the
educational reform proposed in this report (1983, p. 79).
The second-wave of school reform was heralded in 1986 by reports from the
Carnegie Commission entitled A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century and

the Holmes Group Report on Tomorrow's Teachers. These reports focused attention
on teachers and teaching by acknowledging that while standards for students were
important, the key to school reform was teachers:
It made the claim that if teachers became engaged as leaders in
curriculum, instruction, and assessment, they would successfully
implement what was necessary for student success. Rather than rely
on external knowledge as the starting point for improvement, the
report placed its trust in teachers as the major transformative agents.
(Liebermann & Miller, 1983, p. 50)
The crucial role of teachers was central to both of these reports. The Holmes Group
argued that:
None of the reform proposals has addressed the central issue in the
improvement of teachingthe professional stature of teachers. Until
this is addressed, we will continue to attempt educational reform by
telling teachers what to do, rather than empowering them to do what
is necessary. (1986, p. 61)
The Carnegie Report further called for the professionalization of teaching:
Teachers must think for themselves if they are to help others think
for themselves, be able to act independently and collaborate with
others, and render critical judgment. They must be people whose
knowledge is wide-ranging and whose understanding runs deep. (p.
The Report further called for restructuring of the teaching force and creating Lead
Teachers to build communities in school that would focus on collegial learning.
In the wake of these reports, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
(NCTM) released in 1989 the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School
Mathematics and in 1990 Hot Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics.

Together, these documents established a broad framework to guide reform in school
mathematics through improvement in the teaching and learning of mathematics.
Contained in these documents were standards that created a vision of mathematics
teaching and a vision of professional development for mathematics teachers. Both
NCTM publications called for ongoing educational opportunities for teachers to
improve their practice. While acknowledging that existing support systems were
inadequate, these publications called for systemic support for teachers. Thus, these
documents represent a consensus of thinking that all students need to learn more,
and often different, mathematics and that instruction in mathematics must be
significantly revised (1989, p. 1).
At the same time as NCTM was calling for reform in mathematics education,
growing collaboratives of mathematicians, teachers, and teacher educators began
work on curriculum development and professional development for teachers. One
such collaboration, funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation
(NSF), created a four-year college preparatory mathematics curriculum. This
curriculum, known as the Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP), was designed to
exemplify the major reforms called for by NCTM.
In 2000, NCTM released Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, a
document that updated and refined the standards in earlier publications. The
Principles and Standards contained in this document constituted a vision that serves
to guide educators as they work to improve mathematics education for all students.

As schools throughout the nation move to embrace these standards, one strategy has
been to engage teacher leaders as a resource to support their colleagues as they create
a vision of standards-based classrooms and transform that vision into reality.
Lieberman (1992) asserted that teacher participation in leadership may be the most
critical component of the entire process of change (p. 159).
Teacher Leaders and Their Work
Teacher leaders have been seen as a critical element in reform initiatives
(Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy, 1986; Hart, 1995; Holmes Group,
1986; Smylie, 1995). More specifically, Lord and Miller (2000) noted:
Nowhere has the use of teacher leaders been more visible and played
a more significant role in efforts to achieve large-scale reform of
teaching practices than in science, mathematics, and technology
education (SMT). (p. 6)
In studies of districts involved in large-scale SMT reform, Lord and Miller observed
districts engaging teacher leaders as a resource to reach all teachers, to communicate
with them about the proposed changes and persuade them to get involved, and to
sustain the reform through capacity building at schools.
It has been suggested that teacher leaders are the best hope for improving
education in our country (Katzenmeyer & Moller, 1996; Pellicer & Anderson, 1995).
Katzenmeyer and Moller indicated:
Within every school, there is a sleeping giant of teacher leadership
that can be a catalyst to push school reform into the next century. By

using the energy of teacher leaders as agents of school change, the
reform of public education stands a better chance to succeed. (1996,
p. 2)
Teachers comprise the largest group of school employees and by nature of their work
are closest to the students. Howey (1988) advocated, What is fundamentally
needed are highly competent leaders who reside where the problems primarily are,
and who can address these in a continuing, collective manner (p. 30). Teachers,
therefore, are strategically located at the point where reform is often initiated and
ultimately sustained. In reality, they have served, as described in the following
section, as leaders for many years.
History of Teacher Leadership
The phenomena of teacher leaders have been described in the educational
literature for many years (e.g., Lortie, 1975; Smylie & Denny, 1990; Wasley 1991).
Teachers have, in fact, always been leaders. Beginning with the one-room school, the
teacher was synonymously the leader of the school (Pellicer & Anderson, 1995).
However, as the one-room school gave way to larger and more complex schools,
headmasters, headmistresses, and principals became the acknowledged leaders of the
school. Yet, teachers have continued to assume formal leadership roles in schools and
school districts such as department chairpersons and members of school committees.
Recently, new opportunities for teacher leadership have emerged through programs

of curricular and instructional innovation,.:., and the development of new school
structures and professionalcommunities (Smylie, 1995, p. 3).
Three waves of teacher leadership have been described in the literature (Silva,
Gimbert, & Nolan, 2000). In the first wave, teachers assumed leadership positions
such as department chair, head or lead teacher, union representative, and master
teacher. The second wave cast teacher leaders in such roles as team leader, staff
developer, or curriculum developer. The third wave focused on teacher leaders as
those who empower their colleagues to improve professional practice.
First Wave of Teacher Leadership. As mentioned above, teachers in the first
wave were designated department chairs, head or lead or master teachers, or union
representatives. The focus for these roles was on providing efficiency in the school
(Evans, 1996). Leaders in this wave were inside leaders; they were teachers in the
building full time (Wigginton, 1992). These positions were in essence managerial
positions and while they did offer some leadership opportunities for teachers the
main impetus for these positions was on the effectiveness and efficiency of the
system rather than on instructional leadership (Silva et al., 2000, p. 779). OHair and
Reitzug (1997) described this first wave of leadership as conventional leadership,
referring to the commonly-held view of leadership as leaders imposing their will on
others, a view thought to be traditionally held in schools. Conventional leadership
was thus grounded in formally or informally designated roles such as those described
above and its focus was on the positions or roles teacher leaders assumed.

Second Wave of Teacher Leadership. The second wave emphasized teachers
as instructional leaders with titles such as team leader, staff developer, or curriculum
developer. Such teachers might be further characterized as outside leaders because
they typically did not work full time in the building(s) served. This remote
controlling of teachers led to seeking to control them [teachers] with simplistic
formulas or cookie-cutter approaches (Darling-Hammond, 1998, p. 9). However,
since teachers were being asked to educate diverse student bodies to high academic
standards in a complex and rapidly-changing society, Darling-Hammond indicated
that these simple teacher-proof solutions were not the answer. Rather, she
suggested that support for teachers ongoing learning was needed.
Third Wave of Teacher Leadership. In the third wave, teacher leaders moved
from positions apart from classroom work to opportunities for leadership that were
grounded in their day-to-day work as teachers. Thus, they were participating in a
meaningful way in the organizational culture, of their school. Third-wave teacher
leaders tended to:
slide the doors open to collaborate with other teachers, discuss
common problems, share approaches to various learning situations,
explore ways to overcome the structural constraints of limited time,
space, resources, and restrictive policies, or investigate motivational
strategies to bring students to a deeper engagement with their
learning. (Silva et al., 2000, p. 781)

Teachers engaging in these acts, according to Gonzales and Lambert (2001), saw
themselves as agents of change, motivators of people, and thinkers who initiate
school improvement (p. 20).
Constructivist leadership (Lambert, 1998; OHair & Reitzug, 1997) and
democratic leadership (OHair & Reitzug, 1997) are terms used to describe similar
notions of this third wave. The function of constructivist leadership is to engage
people in processes that cause them to wrestle with issues and dilemmas which result
in their constructing new knowledge about the issue or dilemma (Lambert, p. 66).
Constructivist leadership, as well as democratic leadership, is grounded in leadership
acts, acts that cause teachers to examine their beliefs and ways of doing things (p.
66). Examples of these teacher acts include action research, mentoring, and coaching.
Democratic leadership, contrasted with constructivist leadership, focuses on equity
both within the classroom and within the community. OHair and Reitzug argued that
democratic leaders seek fair and just practices both within the school and outside the
school. While the literature contains descriptions of this third wave of leadership,
little is known about the specific work of third-wave teacher leaders that is grounded
in the daily life of the classroom.
The third wave of teacher leadership returns us full circle to the notion that
teacher and leader are one as was the case in the one-room school. Fullan (1994)
posited the fundamental point that all teachers are leaders, We cannot achieve

quality learning for all, or nearly all, students until quality development is attained
and sustained for all teachers (p. 246).
Other researchers (Hess, 1998; Lambert, 1998; Odell, 1997) have agreed with
Fullans assertion,Teacher leadership is not for a few, it is for all (1994, p. 246).
Lambert described leadership capacity as broad-based leadership meaning that,
Everyone has the potential and right to work as a leader (p. 9). Lambert further
conceptualized all educators as leaders, as consummate learners who attend to the
learning of both adults and childrenincluding themselves, of course (p. 92). In
Hess work with Vermont teachers, she described the phenomenon of leadership
density where teachers assuming non-traditional leadership roles begin to create a
culture that nurtures teachers as educational leaders (1998, p. 50). In the next
section, I summarize definitions of teacher leaders from the literature.
Definition of Teacher Leaders
The literature contains a variety of definitions of teacher leaders (LeBlanc &
Shelton, 1997). Wasleys seminal study (1991) defined teacher leaders as those who
engage colleagues in experimentation and then examination of more powerful
instructional practices in the service of more engaged student learning (p. 170). This
definition focuses on the acts in which leaders engage their colleagues, with the
outcome being improved student learning. Wasleys definition, however, does not
address issues of sustainability or leadership work focused on the school as a whole.

LeBlanc and Shelton (1997) broadened Wasleys (1991) definition to include
work outside of the classroom. They described behaviors of teacher leaders:
(a) modeling positive attitudes and enthusiasm; (b) devoting time to
doing whatever it takes to make the school work better; (c)
enhancing student learning through working with other teachers in
improving pedagogy; and (d) being recognized, appreciated,
respected, and/or valued for such efforts, (p. 33)
Lord and Miller (2000) noted that teacher leaders have often been thought to
be those teachers who were released full-time from the classroom to provide some
kind of instructional support for other teachers in their district. In less frequent
instances, teacher leaders have reduced teaching loads or remain full-time in the
classroom while assuming some sort of leadership role. Thus, teacher leaders work
has been thought of as undertaken within various arenas: within the classroom, with
colleagues, within the school, or within the community.
Katzenmeyer and Moller (2001), however, focus teacher leadership on the
acts of teaching and learning rather than on organizational issues. They described
teacher leaders as those teachers who lead within and beyond the classroom, identify
with and contribute to a community of teacher learners and leaders, and influence
others toward improved educational practice (p. 5). This definition, too, suggests
that teacher leaders maintain a classroom role while taking on responsibilities for
supporting their colleagues. Blegen and Kennedy (2000) further described a teacher
leader as one who has made the choice to learn how to talk, to act, and to change
(p. 3).

These definitions further converge to the notion that part of teacher leaders
work involves support for school improvement and change. Moreover, Forsters
(1997) discussion of teacher leadership suggested that teacher leaders are
characterized by a professional commitment that influences people to take joint
actions toward changes and improved practices that enable achievement of shared
educational goals and benefit the common good (p. 83). Forster, however, argued
that leadership is not a choice for teachers. She considered teacher leadership:
simply as a right and a responsibility of teachers as professionals....
It is not an option or a nicety bestowed on some teachers for given
periods of time under limited circumstances, but it is a fundamental
part of fulfilling ones professional role and responsibilities, (p. 83)
What was evident in my review of the literature was a consensus among
researchers on defining a teacher leader, in part, as one who supports educational
improvement and student learning (Forster, 1997; Katzenmeyer & Moller, 1996;
Lambert, 1998; LeBlanc & Shelton, 1997; Odell, 1997). However, missing from the
literature are studies describing the work of classroom teacher leaders in the context
of supporting a standards-based mathematics curriculum. In the next section, I
summarize characteristics of teacher leaders as described in the literature.
Characteristics of Teacher Leaders
Pellicer and Anderson (1995) described teacher leaders as teachers first, but
they also are rare individuals who differ in significant ways from many of their

colleagues (p. 18). One characteristic of teacher leaders is that they have been found
to be competent in their craft of teaching (Childs-Bowen, Moller, & Scrivner, 2000;
Gonzales & Lambert, 2001; Katzenmeyer & Moller, 1996; Little; 1995; Smylie &
Denny, 1990; Wasley, 1991; Yarger & Lee, 1994). Littles (1995) analysis of teacher
leaders in two high schools found that subject-matter expertise was a critical
component of the competence of teacher leaders. In their work with science teacher
leaders, DiRanna and Loucks-Horsley (2001) corroborated Littles findings Their
study revealed that science teacher leaders need a strong content background as they
work with colleagues to challenge teacher understanding and delivery of content
(p. 100).
Second, teacher leaders possess the ability to build and nurture relationships
(Childs-Bowen et al., 2000; Gonzales & Lambert, 2001; Katzenmeyer & Moller,
1996; Lieberman, Saxl, & Miles, 1988; OConnor & Boles, 1992; Silva et al., 2000;
Wasley, 1991; Yarger & Lee, 1994). These researchers suggested that through their
relationships with others, teacher leaders built a support group of colleagues and were
able to facilitate change within their schools. A study conducted by Lieberman, Saxl,
and Miles (1988) suggested that teacher leaders, in fact, built a network of resources
with both teachers and other members of their school community. This network
allowed them to navigate the structure of their workplace. What was important for
these leaders is that they knew more than simply who or where to go for assistance;

they knew how to choose the right person or right thing at the right time (p. 158).
Thus, teachers abilitiy to match needs with capabilities was key to their success.
Modeling of professional growth has been described as a third characteristic
of teacher leaders (Lieberman et al., 1988; Silva et al., 2000). Teacher leaders possess
an enthusiasm for learning and view professional growth as vital not only for
maintaining their competence as a professional, but necessary for sustaining them
professionally and personally (Katzenmeyer & Moller, 1996; Lambert, Collay, Dietz,
Kent, & Richert, 1996). Katzenmeyer and Moller further noted that, Successful
teacher leaders we encounter are consummate learners who pay attention to their own
development (p. 12). In sum, teacher leaders are lifelong learners who invest
personal time and energy engaging in professional development (Gonzales &
Lambert, 2001).
Pellicer & Anderson (1995) observed, Leadership involves change and
change requires the ability to take others where they would normally not go (p. 19).
Thus, a fourth characteristic of teacher leaders is that they understand and accept
change (Lieberman et al., 1988; OConnor & Boles, 1992; Silva et al., 2000). They
are, in fact, strategically located to influence change. Teachers can join other leaders
in moving school reform ahead because they are at the center of the learning process
and they influence what happens in the school (Katzenmeyer & Moller, 1996, p.
13). Gonzales and Lamberts (2001) study of teacher leaders in professional
development schools revealed that teachers who engage in collaboration begin to see

beyond the obstacles to school change and to the possibilities for improving their
schools (p. 20). These teachers, according to Gonzales and Lambert, had taken
responsibility for the substance of change within their own schools.
A fifth characteristic of teacher leaders is their willingness to be risk-takers
(Futtrell, 2000; Lieberman etal., 1988; Ohlson, 1997; Stone, 1996; Wilson, 1993;
Yarger and Lee, 1994; Zinn, 1997). One aspect of teacher leaders risk taking was
challenging the idea that teaching is an isolated endeavor, an act that is conducted in
privacy when the classroom door is closed. Teachers challenged the status quo by co-
teaching classes, discussing their practice with colleagues, and visiting one anothers
classrooms (Boles & Troen, 1996; Moller & Katzenmeyer, 1996). Teacher leaders
also challenged the status quo by stepping out of their comfort zone, by playing
devils advocate with colleagues, and by their willingness to speak out and say what
their colleagues were thinking but were unwilling to say for themselves (Ohlson,
1997). As risk takers, these leaders sought challenge and growth while capitalizing
on available opportunities. Wilson (1993) described such leaders as those who go
out of their way to find innovative, exciting programs, both for the benefit of their
students as well as themselves (p. 24). Finally, Katzenmeyer & Moller (2001) found
teacher leaders willing to take risks in order to expand their sphere of influence and
in order to expand opportunities for their own professional growth.

Teacher Leaders Roles
Teacher leaders roles are carried out in various arenas: the classroom, the
classroom and the school, and the classroom, the school, and the school community.
The least obvious of these arenas is within the teacher leaders own classrooms.
Because teacher leaders are themselves teachers, they lead within their own
classrooms as they interact with students (Pellicer & Anderson, 1995).
Smylie and Denny (1990) found that teacher leaders devoted much of their
time to working with administrators instead of working directly with teachers. In
working with administrators, teacher leaders sometimes carried out performance
evaluation of their fellow teachers (Devaney, 1987; Liebeiman et al., 1988).
Leithwood, Jantzi, and Steinbachs study (1999) involving 57 teachers in 6 schools
identified the most frequent practices of teachers leaders: administrative tasks,
modeling valued practice, and supporting the work of colleagues. In their work, they
distinguished between formal and informal designations of teacher leaders. Formal
designations carry a title such as department chair, mentor, union representative (to
advocate for teachers), or member of school governing body. Miller (2001) suggested
that the title attributed to the teacher leaders often hinted at the responsibility for that
leader. An example of informal leadership (Leithwood et al.) is teachers sharing
their expertise, volunteering for new projects and bringing new ideas to the school
(p. 117). Other examples of informal leadership include stimulating the growth of

colleagues (Leithwood et al., 1999; Smylie & Denny, 1990) and representing their
school in district-level decision making processes (Leithwood et al.).
Even within the formal designations of teacher leader, there exist a wide
range of duties with unclear definitions (Smylie & Denny, 1990). The most common
designation is that of department chair (Little, 1995) or, in the case of elementary
schools, grade-level chair (Ash & Persall, 2000). Little (1995) indicated, however,
that there was no agreement On what this role involves. In Littles study (1988) of six
secondary schools, teachers identified the most conservative option for department
chairs as to act as a buffer, dealing with administration so that teachers can get on
with teaching (p. 97). Further, teachers described department heads as encouraging
participation in professional development. In other instances, however, this position
has been referred to as a paperwork position (Little, 1988).
In examining the work of over 200 teacher leaders, Medina and St. John
(1997) reported the most common leadership roles to be one of serving as an
informal resource to other teachers and one of sharing new methods and curriculum
with colleagues. Other researchers described teacher leaders as providing resources
for colleagues. One resource these leaders provide is staff development (Little, 1990;
Lord & Miller, 2000; OConnor & Boles, 1992; Pellicer & Anderson, 1995; Wasley,
1991), often with regard to curriculum leadership. Teacher leaders often support
teachers directly in the classroom. For example, they make classroom observations
(Cress & Ramsey, 2001; Little, 1988; Lord & Miller, 2000; Miller, 2001), co-teach

with colleagues (Cress & Ramsey, 2001; Lord & Miller, 2000), and engage in
demonstration teaching or model lessons (Cress & Ramsey, 2001; Lord & Miller,
2000; Miller, 2001).
Teacher leaders have also been described as mentors (Hart, 1995; Killion,
1996; OConnor & Boles, 1992; Pellicer & Anderson, 1995; Stone, Horejs, &
Lomas., 1997; Wasley, 1991). This mentoring role has often been characterized as
work with new teachers (Hart, 1995; Pellicer & Anderson, 1995). Hart further
explained that mentors were not always assigned to work with teachers in the
mentors school. Missing from the literature is teacher leaders mentoring of
experienced teachers in the same school as a way to support ongoing teacher
Benefits of Teacher Leader Work
As discussed earlier, teacher leaders have been engaged as resources in
supporting colleagues as they implement standards-based curricula. Lieberman
(1992) suggested that teacher participation in leadership may be the most critical
component of the entire process of change (p. 159).
Improvement of professional practice has been documented as an outgrowth
of teacher leadership. (Katzenmeyer & Moller, 1996; Stone, 1996). Stone et al.
(1997) reported elementary, middle, and high school teacher leaders improved their
professional practice by providing opportunities for collaboration and personal and

professional growth. On a personal level, these researchers reported that teacher
leadership increased teachers knowledge and risk-taking skills. The teaching staffs
in the schools they studied:
suggested that teacher leadership improves professional practice by
trusting teachers to share in the decision making process, providing
professional models, improving the school climate, and elevating the
teaching profession, (p. 58)
A second benefit noted in the above study centers on school improvement.
Data from the teachers indicated that teacher leaders participation in shared decision
making and collaboration with colleagues was influential in school improvement.
Using teachers as leaders is necessary to the school improvement process because
teachers know the classroom, the students, and the curriculum (p. 58).
Smylie and Denny (1990), in their study of K-8 teacher leaders, observed that
through the efforts of teacher leaders, other teachers believed that staff development
within the school had improved. In particular, teachers reported enhancement of the
professional climate in the school and an increase in communication between
individual teachers. One teacher in their study noted, We are engaging in more
professional talk than we ever did before (p. 250).
Finally, a benefit of teacher leadership is teacher efficacy (Barker, 1998;
Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001; Lieberman, 1992). Teachers who see themselves as
leaders place less emphasis on factors beyond their control and more emphasis on
their own abilities and potential as classroom teachers. Futtrell (2000) observed that

when teacher are engaged as leaders, their attitudes and behaviors change from
cynicism to cooperationfrom this too shall pass to how can we really make our
schools work better (p. 125). Similarly, teachers report an increase in their sense of
commitment to the teaching profession (Hart, 1995; Smylie & Denny, 1990).
Liberman noted that teachers involvement in their own learning has powerful
effects on students, on the culture of the school and on teachers own sense of
efficacy (p. 159).
The review of the literature on teacher leaders provides insight into how
teachers and others define this phenomenon as well as roles that teacher leaders
assume in their work within various arenas of the school community. This
examination of the literature has converged on common themes for teacher leaders
work: the process of school improvement and support for teacher learning.
Role of Professional Development
Teacher leadership and teacher learning are inextricably connected (Darling-
Hammond, Bullmaster & Cobb, 1995). Fullan (1991) posited that the continuous
development of all teachers is the cornerstone for meaning, improvement and reform
(p. 315). Lambert (1996), in advocating for teachers as constructivist leaders,

suggested that an essential element was to reframe professional development as
lifes work (p. xv).
To accomplish this continuous development, new and broader conceptions of
professional development to support a new kind of teacher learning are needed.
Lieberman (1995) noted that an expanded view of professional learning that is an
integral part of school life and that encompasses learning both individual and
collective, both inquiry-based and technical (p. 592) provides powerful learning
experiences for teachers. These types of experiences call for teachers to be involved
as learners in varied and engaging ways, different from the paradigm of learning that
many of todays teachers personally experienced.
Recent studies (Ball & Cohen, 1999; Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman, & Suk
Yoon, 2001; Thompson & Zeuli, 1999) suggested that teacher learning should be
grounded in the sorts of practices that the current reforms call for. This type of
practice-based learning constitutes a professional development program that is
situated in the daily lives of teachers. Such a design requires grounding in what Ball
and Cohen (1999) referred to as the cornerstones of education:
what needs to be learned (content), the nature of that content and
what that implies about how it might be learned (theories of
learning), curriculum and pedagogy (with what materials and in what
ways the learners can be helped to learn that content, given who they
are, the nature of what there is to be learned, and theories of how it is
best learned, (p. 6)

Thus, the content of professional development is an important facet of teacher
learning. However, content for mathematics teachers, as described in the next section,
involves more than teachers simply knowing the mathematics they will teach.
Content of Professional Development
Three domains of knowledge have been identified as requisite to successful
teaching: subject-matter knowledge, knowledge of instructional practices (pedagogy),
and pedagogical content knowledge (Elmore, 2002).
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (1989, 1990,2000)
described a broad framework for teachers knowledge. First, teachers need a deep
conceptual understanding of the mathematics they teach, much richer than simply
knowing the procedures. That is, they need to be conversant with the connections and
mathematical meanings and to have a strong grasp of mathematical reasoning that
allows them to engage students in exploring mathematics at more sophisticated
levels. Along with this, teachers need an awareness of the current beliefs regarding
the nature of mathematics and what it means to know mathematics and to do
mathematics. For many teachers, however, this type of knowledge was not
developed during their undergraduate education (Frechtling, 2001). For example,
some elementary teachers may have inadequate college preparation in mathematics
and thus feel unconfident about their teaching ability in this subject area. Given the
changes in todays curriculum and technology, other teachers, too, may feel

unprepared to teach these topics. This important knowledge for teachers also has
implications for students. Cohen and Hills study (as cited in Garet et al., 2001) of
mathematics teaching in California found that students mathematics achievement
was higher in schools whose teachers participated in broad professional development
grounded in specific mathematics content than in schools where this was not the case.
Teacher knowledge, however, must be extended beyond subject-specific
knowledge to knowing students and to knowing how students learn (Ball & Bass,
2000; Garet et al., 2001). Implicit in this is teachers understanding of the process of
learning and, in the case of mathematics teachers, understanding the difference in
developing skills versus developing understanding.
Finally, teachers need to know the pedagogy of their subject, including ways
to effectively engage students in learning the subject matter. Shulman (1986)
introduced pedagogical content knowledge as a term that connected teachers
knowledge of pedagogy with their knowledge of subject matter. Ball and Bass (2000)
characterized pedagogical content knowledge as:
a special form of knowledge that bundles mathematical knowledge
with knowledge of learners, learning, and pedagogy. These bundles
offer a crucial resource for teaching mathematics, for they can help the
teacher anticipate what students might have trouble learning, and have
ready altermative models or explanation to mediate those difficulties.
(p. 88)
However, knowing all this would not be sufficient for teaching. The work of teaching
is carried out in unpredictable and complex situations in classrooms. Thus, teachers

need the capability to learn within the context of their workto analyze then-
teaching and then to refine and improve their instruction based on those learnings
(Ball & Cohen, 1999).
The kind of professional learning described above is different from a model of
additive learning (Smith, 2001) in which new skills are added to those teachers
have previously acquired. Rather, transformative learning, according to Smith,
involves sweeping changes in deeply held beliefs, knowledge, and habits of
practice (p. 3). Professional development that supports such transformative learning
has been characterized (Thompson & Zeuli, 1999) as requiring:
Deliberate interventions that create dissonance significant enough to cause
transformation in teachers knowledge, learning, and beliefs in contrast to
merely tinkering with these elements as might occur in interactions with
colleagues or through other school tasks;
Time, contexts, and support that provide teachers opportunities to engage in
resolving this dissonance, in part, through discussion with colleagues and
personal reflection;
Assurance that the dissonance creation and resolution are related to teachers
own contexts and environments;
Opportunity for teachers to develop skills in their own practice that are
consistent with the new knowledge being developed; and
Support for continuation of this cycle.

What teachers are called to do is to leam new strategies and, at the same time, to
unlearn old practices (Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1999). Furthermore,
Loucks-Horsley (1998) indicated that professional development must provide
teachers with experiences: to build a learning community that is an integral part of
the school norms and culture, to support teachers to serve in leadership roles within
the school, and to provide teachers with links to other parts of the education system
Given all this, professional development as described above cannot be
thought of as an individual responsibility (Little, 1999). Sanborn and Clarke (1998)
described key elements in encouraging a self-generating process of professional
development. Among these keys elements are the recognition that solutions to
problems of teaching and learning are best developed by teams within the school,
recognition of the critical role administrators play in supporting solutions developed
by teachers, and support for leadership emergence among teachers. In sum,
classrooms and schools play a crucial role in teacher learning.
Context for Professional Development
Transformative professional development has further potential for teachers
learning if it is situated within the daily work of teachers. Ball and Cohen (1999)
argued that teachers should leam both from practice and leam in practice since
teachers knowledge is itself situated in practice. That is, they need to be both agents
and objects of their own professional growth (Loucks-Horsley et al., 1998, p. 260).

One approach (Smith, 2001) for situating teacher learning in practice is to
build professional learning around the activities that constitute the cycle of teachers
work: planning for instruction, carrying out the instructional plan, and reflecting on
and analyzing the implementation of the plan. Furthermore, situating teacher learning
within a community of practice provides teachers with opportunities to gather energy
from colleagues as they learn both from their practice and in their practice (Elmore,
2002). McLaughlin and Talbert (1993) described this connection with others as
critical for sustained learning:
Those teachers who made effective adaptations to todays students
had one thing in common: each belonged to an active professional
community which encouraged and enabled them to transform their
teaching, (p. 7)
This professional community has the potential to provide opportunities for self-
renewal of teacher learning and a way to support continuance of the cycle of
dissonance creation and resolution, thereby creating a self-generating process for
professional development.
Unlike the training approach, professional development called for in
contemporary schools must embrace not only the teachers involved but also the
organization with which the teacher is affiliated. School level leadership has been
found to be essential for designing professional development that is embedded in
teachers daily lives and for developing a comprehensive and coherent plan that
sustains, indeed self-generates, that professional development (Sanborn & Clarke,

1998). Creating a structure within schools that supports and sustains this work is of
utmost importance to the institutionalization of such programs:
Sustained change in teachers learning opportunities and practices
will require sustained investment in the infrastructure of reform. This
means investment in the development of the institutions and
environmental supports that will promote the spread of ideas and
shared learning.... (Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995, p.
Further, professional development is highly affected by school and/or district
organizational factors (McLaughlin & Marsh, 1990).
Loucks-Horsley et al. (1998) argued that professional development must also
focus on school systems because of their powerful influences on teachers and
This can occur indirectly through the structures and policies that can
help or hinder a teachers efforts and directly through the nature of
professional development that is offered. School systems have a key
role in developing leadership in their teachers, (p. 14)
However, Elmore and Bumey (1999) acknowledged that although much is known
about the characteristics of effective professional development, much less is known
about organizing successful professional development in order to influence practice
in large organizations.
Chapter Summary
In this chapter, I reviewed literature pertaining to the movement toward
standards-based curricula in mathematics and the emergence of teacher leadership as

a support to teachers in creating classrooms that embody the vision of the standards. I
described the role of professional development in supporting teacher learning.
Although there is only a limited body of research available, two findings emerged as
critical in supporting teachers as leaders. First, teachers need ready access to
members of the educational community if they are to develop roles as teacher leaders.
Secondly, professional development to support ongoing learning must be a part of
teachers daily lives.

This study focuses on the roles of mathematics teacher leaders in schools that are
engaged in implementing the Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP) curriculum.
The research questions for the study are:
What activities do teacher leaders engage in within schools that are
implementing IMP?
What is the content of teacher leaders communications with administrators,
counselors, parents, and mathematics colleagues within the school?
What is the nature and extent of professional development that teacher leaders
engage in within their own schools?
What common themes occur across the teacher leaders, and what are the
major differences?
I begin this chapter with a rationale for employing a case study method to
describe the roles of mathematics teacher leaders. Next, I describe the criteria for
selection of teacher leaders, the process I used to select the teacher leaders, and my
role as a researcher. The third section describes data sources and details the data
collection procedures. Section four describes data analysis procedures. In the final

section T describe my efforts to establish trustworthiness of results by minimizing
bias and error in the study.
Research Design: Multiple-Case Study
Qualitative research as a genre strives to understand how all the parts work
together to form a whole (Merriam, 1988, p. 16). Patton (1985) described qualitative
research as an effort:
to understand situations in their uniqueness as part of a particular
context and the interactions there. This understanding is an end in
itself, so that it is not attempting to predict what may happen in the
future necessarily, but to understand the nature of that settingwhat
it mearis for participants to be in that setting, what their lives are like,
whats going on for them, what their meanings are, what the world
looks like in that particular settingand in the analysis to be able to
communicate that faithfully to others who are interested in that
setting... .The analysis strives for depth of understanding, (p. 1)
Rationale for Case Study
The case study method emphasizes interpretation of the case and
acknowledges that there are multiple realities. Stake (1995) characterized educational
We are interested in them for both their uniqueness and
commonality. We seek to understand them. We would like to hear
their stories.... [But] we enter the scene with a sincere interest in
learning how they function in their ordinary pursuits and milieus and
with a willingness to put aside many presumptions while we learn.
(P- 1)

Yin (1994) further identified the scope of case studies as inquiry that investigates a
contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when the
boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident (p. 13).
Specifically, case studies are particularly valuable when researchers want to make
sense of complex social phenomena (Yin) realizing that multiple realities exist in
complex social contexts (Meniam, 1998).
Case study research is especially suitable for understanding the work of
teacher leaders for several reasons. First, teacher leadership is dependent on such
contextual factors as the experiences teacher leaders bring to their work
(Katzenmeyer & Moeller, 1996). Second, teacher leadership is embedded within the
context of the school and community (Lambert & Gardner, 1995; Smylie & Denny,
1990; Stone et al, 1997; Wheatley, 1992). In addition, teacher leaders bring to their
work their own understandings of leadership, thus situating their own values and
beliefs into their ideas of leadership (LeBlanc & Shelton, 1997; Katzenmeyer &
Study Design
I used a replication design (Yin, 1994) in the multiple-case study of three
teacher leaders. This design (see Figure 3.1) incorporated cases that were, in certain
aspects, both similar and contrasting with the intent to strengthen the findings.

Figure 3.1: Research Design

Miles and Huberman (1994) suggested:
Because case study researchers examine intact settings in such
loving detail, they know all too well that each setting has a few
properties it shares with many--others, some properties it shares with
some others, and some properties it shares with no others.
Nevertheless, the multiple-case sampling gives us confidence that
our emerging theory is generic, because we have seen it work
outand not work outin predictable ways. (p. 29)
The first phase of the study design (Yin, 1994) included developing a
conceptual framework (described in Chapter 1), selecting cases (described below),
and determining data collection procedures (described in later sections). This phase
was followed by data collection at each teacher leaders school, the unit of analysis
being the teacher leader. Included in this phase was the analysis of data for each case
and description of findings for each teacher leader. The third and final phase was
comparing and contrasting the cases. The aim of this final phase, according to Miles
and Huberman (1994) is to see processes and outcomes across many cases, to
understand how they are qualified by local conditions, and thus to develop more
sophisticated descriptions and more powerful explanations (p. 172).
Selection of Teacher Leaders
High school teacher leaders in the Rocky Mountain Mathematics Leadership
Collaborative (RMMLC) served as the population for this research study. The
RMMLC project includes secondary schools in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming,
and Kansas. Urban, suburban, and rural schools are included in the project with

school enrollments varying from less than 100 to around 2000. Consequently, some
schools have only one teacher involved in the project, whereas other schools have all
mathematics teachers participating in the project. Teacher leaders within these
schools are in varying stages of curriculum implementation: some have taught IMP
for eight to ten years, while others are just beginning implementation.
Selection Criteria
The following criteria were used to select teacher leaders from RMMLC
teacher participants:
Teachers who are currently teaching IMP and are a member of the school
mathematics leadership team;
Teachers who possess characteristics of teacher leaders as described in the
literature (e.g., competent and knowledgeable of subject matter, influential
with their colleagues; valuing of ongoing professional learning, and accepting
and understanding of change);
Teachers who have at least one-year of IMP teaching experience or were
teaching in a school in at least the second year of implementation;
Teachers who have at least one year of classroom teaching experience;
Teachers who are in schools that do not yet have a full cycle of
implementation (all four years of IMP curriculum are not yet in place); and
Teachers who represent unique RMMLC schools.

Selection Process
I began the selection process by identifying RMMLC schools that were in the
first, second, third, or fourth years of implementation. From those schools, I next
identified RMMLC teachers who had at least a year of IMP experience or were in a
school where the first year of IMP had been in place the previous school year. In
other words, I did not select first-time IMP teachers in a first-year implementation
school. I further eliminated any teachers who were not members of their respective
schools mathematics leadership team.
As mentioned earlier, RMMLC includes urban, suburban, and rural schools. I
wanted to select teacher leaders that represent the range of RMMLC schools. To
accomplish this, I categorized the remaining schools as urban, suburban, or rural.
Consulting with other project staff, I selected the teacher within each of the three
categories of schools who best exemplified the characteristics of teacher leaders as
described in the literature.
After identifying these three teacher leaders, I contacted each of them by
phone to explain my research study and ask them to participate. All three
immediately agreed to be a part of the study. Next, I attended a leadership team
meeting at each of the three schools, explained my research study, and ask team
members to participate in study. All agreed to participate.

I ensured confidentiality of the participants in several ways. Prior to
beginning interviews and observations, I provided all interviewees with copies of
informed consent papers (see Appendices A and B) describing the purpose of the
study, the interview process, and any potential risks. Prior to their signing the papers,
I further advised them that participation was voluntary and they were free to
withdraw from the study at any time. Finally, I informed them that pseudonyms
would be used for.all individuals and schools.
Role of Researcher
I am currently co-director of RMMLC and in that capacity I visit schools to
support the work of teacher leaders and leadership teams and to gather information to
help formulate the direction for future RMMLC professional development. This work
provides me the opportunity to be in the schools of the three teacher leaders and to
observe them at work: When I visit schools monthly, I typically conference
individually with the teacher leaders, observe their classes in a coaching role, meet
with the teacher leaders during their professional development period, and attend
leadership team meetings. I am not, however, a member of any leadership team. Each
of these activities provides me with many avenues for studying teacher leadership in
the three schools.
However, as co-director of a project in which the three teachers participated,
my position exerted influence on the teachers. I would expect that the influence on

these three teachers was .minimal because of their personal leadership characteristics
and strong sense of self-efficacy. In any case, my role as researcher straddled the
positions of participant observer and non-participant observer in the study.
Furthermore, my relationship with the three teachers and with their respective
leadership teams preceded the data-collection year. I thus know much of the history
regarding the implementation background of the three schools and the three teacher
leaders. Because of this relationship, maintaining my role as the interviewer
sometimes presented challenges. Moreover, my own familiarity with the schools and
with the work of curriculum implementation might have influenced the depth of the
three teachers description of their work. They might have assumed that I would
know of some aspects of their work and deemed it unnecessary to detail this in
Finally, prior to my present position, I also was involved in the same work of
the three teacher leaders. Therefore, I consciously attempted to set aside my prior
experiences and approach this study with an open mind so as to view these teachers
experiences in an objective way. However, those personal experiences influenced the
quotes I selected, the ways I have chosen to present data, and themes that emerged.
Knowing this, I have presented significant data and descriptions in Chapters 4
through 6 to elucidate the three teachers work.

Data Sources and Collection Methods
Collection of data from multiple sources is a strength of case study research
(Merriam, 1988; Yin, 1994). First, data from multiple sources are involved in data
triangulation as a way to establish accuracy of facts (Krathwohl, 1998). The potential
problem of construct validity can also be addressed with triangulation (Meniam).
Further, Yin suggested that the most salient advantage to multiple sources of data is
the development of converging lines of inquiry (p. 92). In sum, multiple sources of
evidence provide a broader view of the phenomena studied and help to confirm
Data Sources
To answer the research questions, I collected a variety of data from multiple
sources within the schools of the three teacher leaders. These sources included
structured interviews, observations, and artifacts. The primary data sources for each
research question are summarized in Table 3.1.

Table 3.1: Research Questions and Sources of Data
Research Question Sources of Data
Question 1: Activities of teacher leaders Interviews with teacher leader and administrator Observation of leadership team meetings Observation of teacher leader interaction with mathematics colleagues Leadership team plan
Question 2: Content of communication with administrators, counselors, parents, and mathematics colleagues in school Interviews with all leadership team members Observation of leadership team meetings Observation of parent nights Leadership team minutes Parent night plans
Question 3: Professional development engaged in by teacher leader within school Interview with teacher leader Observation of teacher leader interaction with mathematics colleagues
In Table 3.2,1 display the actual sources of data collected at each teacher
leaders school. When applicable, I have included the frequency count for these of
these sources. I describe the methods of collection in the next section of this chapter.

Table 3.2: Sources and Frequency of Data Collected
Source of Data Cottonwood High School Dawson School Randall High School
Interviews 12 7 11
Observation of mathematics leadership team meetings 3 3 7
Observation of parent night 1 1
Observation of interactions among teacher leaders and mathematics colleagues 4 7
Artifacts: Leadership team meeting minutes V V
Leadership team 2001-02 plan . V V
Parent night plans V
Note. Checks indicate artifacts were collected. Dashes indicate data were not
Data Collection Methods
The primary source of data, generated in the study was through interviews. I
conducted three interviews with each teacher leader and one interview with each
member of the mathematics leadership team at the school. All interviews were tape
recorded and transcribed for analysis
Interviews with Teacher Leaders. As described above, I conducted a series of
three interviews (see Appendix C) with each teacher leader (Seidman, 1998). The
first interview focused on the teacher leaders background and was conducted during
the first semester of the 2001-2002 school year. In this first interview, I wanted to
understand each teacher leaders past history in education, how they came to be a

teacher leader, and their perception of such leadership. To understand the context for
their work, I asked each to describe a typical day for himself or herself as a teacher
The second interview took place during the middle of the second semester and
focused on concrete details of the teacher leaders work. The interview questions
were designed to elicit the activities they engaged in to support the implementation of
IMP and their communication with administrators, counselors, parents, and their
mathematics colleagues within the school.
The third interview was conducted near the end of the school year and
focused on professional development. I began by trying to understand how each
teacher conceptualized professional development and to determine the nature of the
professional development engaged in within the teacher leaders school. Finally, in
this interview, I asked teacher leaders to reflect on their work over the year: how their
leadership had evolved, the challenges they faced as leaders, and the contributions
they made through their leadership work. I supplemented the designed interview
questions with prompts, probes, and clarifying questions when needed to support
interviewees reconstruction of their experiences.
Interviews with Mathematics Leadership Team Members. As mentioned
previously, I conducted an interview with each member of the leadership team in all
three schools. These interviews were conducted in late April and May. The interview
questions (see Appendix D) were designed to understand the team members

perceptions of the work of the teacher leader in supporting the implementation of
IMP and to leam of their communication with the teacher leader. As was the case
with teacher leader interviews, I used the interview questions as a guide and added
prompts, probes, and clarifying questions when needed.
In my work with Merle, the teacher leader at Randall High School, it was
evident through interviews with him and other team members that there was a
conscious effort on his part to inform and engage the superintendent and school board
in understanding the mathematics program. Therefore, I contacted the superintendent
and conducted an interview with him.
In my observations and work at Dawson School, I found that the leadership
team did not have a parent representative. However, the team engaged the support of
an IMP parent to speak with other parents of IMP students. In this case, I interviewed
this supportive parent to get the parent voice into the interviews.
Observations. Throughout the year at all three schools, I observed leadership
team meetings (see Appendix E). Following the meetings, I made notes of my
observations. At Cottonwood and Randall, I observed teacher leader interaction with
IMP colleagues during common planning periods. However, I did not make these
observations at Dawson because Carol was the sole IMP teacher during the 2001-
2002 school year. As with the leadership team meetings, I made notes following the
observations. At Randall and Dawson, I observed a parent math night and recorded
notes. Cotttonwood also hosted a parent math night, but my travel schedule

prohibited my attendance at the event At Randall, I further had the opportunity to
observe elementary, middle, and high school teachers plan a parent night.
Artifacts. I collected 2001*2002 mathematics leadership team plans from all
three schools. The teams created these plans as a way to generate goals for their work
and strategies to achieve those goals. Leadership team representatives at Randall and
Cottonwood sent me leadership team minutes; however, Dawsons team did not
record minutes of meetings. I also obtained parent night plans and agendas for
Dawson and Randall. In addition, background information on each school was
collected including enrollment, student demographics, school staff information,
schedule of mathematics classes, and other pertinent information regarding the
profile of the school.
Data Analysis Procedures
Data analysis occurred simultaneously with data collection throughout the
study. Miles and Huberman (1994) defined data analysis as consisting of three
concurrent flows of activity: data reduction, data display, and conclusion
drawing/verification (p. 10). Data reduction serves as a method of analysis that
organizes data so that patterns can be detected and conclusions drawn (Miles and
Huberman). I began this process of organization with coding the transcriptions of
interviews and artifacts as a first step in data reduction.

Process of Coding Data
I began the data analysis with examining interviews conducted at Cottonwood
High School. These interviews were initially read and re-read as I searched for
response patterns. Using the research questions to guide my work, I began marking
passages relating to specific activities of the teacher leaders. Initially, I assigned
major codes to these passages and then re-read the transcripts to determine any
secondary codes that were needed to break the major codes into smaller categories.
These initial codes represented categories that emerged from the data and reflected in
the conceptual framework for the study. With input from colleagues, I revised some
of these initial codes. Once these codes were established, I re-read transcripts and
marked passages that applied to the content of teacher leader communication with
administrators, counselors, parents, and mathematics colleagues. I followed the
iterative process described above of assigning initial codes, re-reading transcripts,
and revising codes as needed. Finally, I carried out a third iteration as I coded
passages that focused on teacher leaders professional development engaged in within
the school. After completing this third coding iteration, I was left with some data not
germane to any of the research questions. As mentioned above, it was sometimes a
challenge to maintain my interviewer role. Because of this, oftentimes interviewees
would discuss concerns or ask questions that did not pertain to the research questions.
These concerns and questions comprise the majority of uncoded data in the

My next step in the coding process was to create a worksheet of coded
passages. The worksheet (see Appendix F for an example) identified the research
question, major code, secondary code, text of passage from interview, and the
location of the passage within a specific interview. Using the filtering tool of the
worksheet, I created print copies of all data that applied to each major code and/or
secondary code for each of the research questions. Using these displays and referring
back to the referenced interviews, I wrote Chapter 4, which describes the results for
Bruce, teacher leader at Cottonwood High School.
I next coded transcripts from Dawson, School, refining and adding to the
codes as needed. Following the coding, I created a worksheet and filtered the data to
display data for each code. I wrote Chapter 5, describing results for Carol, teacher
leader at Dawson School. Finally, I coded the transcripts from Randall, again,
refining and adding codes when necessary to categorize passages. Using the
worksheet created for this set of data, I described the results (Chapter 6) for Merle,
teacher leader at Randall High School.
Data Codes
The first research question addressed the activities teacher leaders engaged in
while supporting the implementation of IMP. The final coding categories germane to
this question are summarized in Table 3.3 below.

Table 3.3: Codes for Teacher Leader Activities
Major Code Secondary Code
Mentoring Coaching Challenging beliefs about teaching and learning Acting as a sounding board Providing experienced resource Fostering collaboration of K-12 mathematics teachers Focusing direction of colleagues work
Communicating with stakeholder groups within school community School administration Counselors Parents Mathematics colleagues District math teachers Mathematics department (refers to entire department) IMP teachers in school Mathematics leadership team School faculty Students School board Superintendent
Acting as a Buffer
My second research question was designed to understand the content of
communication that teacher leaders have with administrators, counselors, parents,
and mathematics colleagues within the school. The codes assigned to passages
applying to this second question along with any secondary codes are summarized in
Table 3.4 below.

Table 3.4: Codes for Content of Communication
Major Code Secondary Code
Student placement Make-up of IMP classes Registration
Success of IMP students Assessment Expectations Grades Homework help Honors
IMP philosophy and mathematics
Professional Development Funding Opportunities
Leadership team items Agendas Meeting notices
Dissemination of school announcements
Advocacy for reform mathematics
The third research question was designed to elicit the nature and extent of the
professional development the three teacher leaders engaged in within their schools.
Coding categories for this research question are summarized in Table 3.5.
Table 3.5: Codes for Teacher Leader Professional Development
Major Code Secondary Code
Reflect on own practice
Discussion with colleagues Practice of teaching Development of mathematics/curriculum
Design assessment system
Observe colleagues teaching

Data Display and Conclusion Drawing
Data display is the second phase of data analysis consisting of the
organization of data into compact, visual displays (i.e., matrices, charts, graphs,
figures, tables). Throughout the process of coding data and writing results for each
teacher leader, I summarized and synthesized the emerging patterns into tables
displayed in Chapters 4-6. These tables, together with those generated in comparing
and contrasting the data across the three cases (Chapter 7), allowed me to visually
examine the data for common themes or major differences.
Drawing conclusions and verification was die third and final phase of my data
analysis. In this phase, my aim was to build a logical chain of evidence through
noting patterns, relationships, themes, and/or clusters, and through making contrasts
and comparisons; I also sought to verify my conclusions through connecting the
experiences described by the interviewees with my own observations and
interpretations of those. At the same time, I drew on the literature to link my findings
from observations and interviews with the relevant literature, thereby linking the
understandings generated from my own interpretations and the interpretations of the
participants with theory (Miles and Huberman, 1994).
Trustworthiness of Conclusions
Reliability and validity are key concerns for all research. In qualitative
research, reliability and validity are concerned with both the research design itself

and with the data collection methods (Goodwin & Goodwin, 1996). I approached
these concerns through thoughtful and careful attention to the conceptual framework
and the collection, analysis and interpretation of data. In the following sections, I
describe my efforts to estimate reliability and validity of design and of data
In general, reliability addresses the issue of consistency, consistency of
obtaining the findings and consistency in the interpretations of the findings. Thus,
reliability can be classified as external or internal, with regard to the consistency of
the design or the consistency of the findings.
External Reliability This type refers to the extent to which a study could be
replicated. Hence, external reliability focuses on the research design itself.
Establishing external reliability has been described as a Herculean problem in
qualitative research (LeCompte & Goetz, 1982) and involves five problem areas:
researcher status position, informant choices, social situations and conditions,
analytic constructs and premises, and methods of data collection and analysis (p.
37). Goodwin and Goodwin (1996) suggested that careful and thorough descriptions
of each of these aspects is needed to enhance external reliability.
The first of the areas identified aboveresearcher role and choice of teacher
leadersare described in earlier sections of this chapter. My description of selecting

the teacher leaders included the specific criteria and details of the actual process I
followed in making the selections. The social context within each teacher leaders
school is described at length in each of the three chapters describing the results for
each teacher leader (Chapters 4-6). Analytic constructs and premises, as a possible
problem area for research, was handled^ in part, by developing a conceptual
framework that guided the development of research questions. This framework, too,
impacted the unit of analysis and creation of coding categories to characterize data.
The fifth area, data collection methods and analysis, is presented in detail in earlier
sections of this chapter. I detailed the process of data collection, the generation of
coding categories, and decisions I made throughout this process as a way to create an
audit trail of my work (Merriam, 1988).
Internal Reliability. This aspect of reliability refers to reliability of data
collection and is the extent to which multiple observers would agree on the
interpretation or coding of the data. In qualitative research, one way of estimating
internal reliability is the calculation of inter-rater reliability. To accomplish this, a
colleague and I independently coded about 90 lines of text from three interview
transcriptions collected from two participants. We compared our coding and

calculated Cohens kappa as 0.88. We subsequently spent time examining the
passages that were not coded in agreement to check for clarity of codes.
Validity deals with the accuracy of ones findings and, as was the case in
reliability, can be categorized as internal validity or external validity. Further, as was
the case with reliability, validity is concerned with both the research design and the
data-collection methods.
External Validity. Generalizability is the cornerstone of external validity. In
case studies, external validity poses a dilemma The intent of case study research is to
understand a phenomenon by studying it within the contexts in which it exists, with
the acknowledgment that the phenomenon and its context are inseparable (Yin,
1994). Therefore, the purpose of case study research is not generalization but
comparability and translatability (Goodwin & Goodwin, 1996; LeCompte & Goetz;
The use of multiple cases in this study with cross-case analysis enhances the
comparability and translatability of findings. In Chapters 4-6, the results from the
three teacher leaders, I describe thoroughly the contexts within which their leadership
2 This statistic is an estimate of the inter-rater agreement and takes into account the proportion of
agreement expected by chance, k = -----^ where P represents the observed proportion of
agreement and Pc represents the proportion of agreement expected by chance (Goodwin, 2001).

is situated, including the mathematics department, the mathematics leadership team
and the school.
Internal Validity. This type of validity is concerned with how well the
findings obtained by the researcher match the reality of the participants. One strategy
I incorporated to address observer effects as a threat to internal validity was
triangulation, using multiple sources of data collected over an eight-month period to
corroborate findings. Selection was a potential threat to validity; this was minimized
by providing detailed descriptions of the criteria for teacher leader selection, the
process of selection using those criteria, and careful descriptions of the teacher
leaders selected.
Chapter Summary
I began this chapter with a discussion of the value of case study methods for
studying the work of teacher leaders. I then described the multiple-case research
design. I moved on to explicate selection criteria for teacher leaders along with the
selection process that I followed. Next, I provided a description of the sources of data
and the collection methods I employed. Explanation of the process for coding the
data, identification of codes used, and elaboration of the process for drawing
conclusions followed this. I concluded with a description of possible threats to the
reliability and validity of this study.

Data for each teacher leader are presented in three sections. First, I describe
the research setting including the school, the school mathematics leadership team,
and the mathematics department. I follow this description of the research setting with
the background of the teacher leader, how this person came to have a leadership role
at the school, and a vignette illustrating a typical day for the teacher leader. In the
third section, I describe the patterns and themes that emerged from the data analysis
organized by research questions. All participants described as well as the school are
identified using a pseudonym.
Description of Research Setting: Cottonwood High School
Cottonwood High School is located in a large city in the western United
States. Although Cottonwood is a school in an urban community, its demographics
(see Appendix G) are more typical of suburban schools than urban schools.
One of six high schools within the district, Cottonwood has a student
population of more than 1700 students. Located in a largely upper-middle class
neighborhood, the high school campus sprawls on a hillside and consists of five
buildings completed in the early 1970s to house 1500 students. The staff consists of

84 teachers, 4 administrators, 5 counselors, 14 paraprofessionals, and 28 school-
support personnel. The faculty at Cottonwood has an average of 16 years of teaching
Cottonwoods Mathematics Leadership Team.
Prior to Cottonwood joining RMMLC and as part of the schools commitment
to supporting the institutionalization of a mathematics learning community,
Cottonwood established a mathematics leadership team. The team (see Table 4.1)
currently consists of an administrator, a counselor, a parent, four teacher leaders, and
three other IMP teachers who attend meetings somewhat sporadically. Cottonwoods
leadership team has worked together for two years although four teachers are new to
the team during the 2001-2002 school year. The team met monthly immediately after
school in the administrative meeting room at Cottonwood High School. One of the
teacher leaders facilitates each meeting.
As part of their participation in RMMLC, each summer the entire team
attended a two-day workshop designed to provide teams with tools for working
together and time and a framework for creating a plan to focus their work during the
school year. Cottonwoods 2001-2002 leadership team plan described their goal as
to make IMP a credible, acceptable, successful math curriculum.

Table 4.1: Cottonwood Mathematics Leadership Team
Person Role Descriptor
Bruce Teacher Leader Also serves as mathematics department chairperson; one of the original IMP teachers at Cottonwood
Suzannah Assistant Principal Self-proclaimed IMP cheerleader; provides informed and supportive voice of administration
Sharon Counselor Provides different views on whats going on in mathematics because of her work with parents, students, and other counselors
Andrea Parent Parent of a third-year IMP student; previously employed in the district assessment office
Natalie Teacher Leader One of the three original IMP teachers at Cottonwood
Jessica Teacher Leader Experienced IMP teacher new to school
Candy Teacher Leader Experienced IMP teacher new to school
Bishop IMP Teacher Shares common professional development period with Bruce, Kara and Tip
Kara IMP Teacher New to IMP; Shares common professional development period with Bruce, Bishop and Tip
Tip IMP Teacher New to IMP; Shares common professional development period with Bruce, Kara and Tip

Mathematics at Cottonwood
Within the mathematics department, there are thirteen full-time teachers and
one half-time teacher. Each full-time teachers daily schedule consists of five classes
and two planning periods, one of those planning periods serves as a duty assignment
one day a week.
As mentioned earlier, Cottonwood currently houses about 300 more students
than it was designed for, so mathematics teachers do not have their own classrooms.
Rather, they are scheduled into classrooms for teaching periods, and some of the
teachers new to Cottonwood move from classroom to classroom throughout the
school day. However, each teacher has office space in a long rectangular room that
serves as the office for the department. Desks line the walls in the office, and long
tables are arranged in the middle as meeting space. Teachers use this area for study
during their planning periods and as a meeting place with students and other teachers.
IMP at Cottonwood. Cottonwood is in its third year of implementing IMP.
When IMP was adopted at Cottonwood, the mathematics faculty chose to offer two
parallel mathematics programs: the existing sequence of traditional mathematics
courses (i.e., algebra and geometiy) and the IMP curriculum. During the year of this
study, Cottonwoods schedule included 61 sections of mathematics classes; twelve of
those sections were IMP classes.

To date, six of the mathematics teachers teach both traditional and IMP
courses, while seven of the mathematics teachers instruct only courses in the
traditional sequence. According to the IMP teachers interviewed, they have
effectively worked to create a cohesive department. Bishop described their efforts:
There are a lot of teachers that are teaching mostly traditional classes
or only traditional classes that kind of respect what were doing and
look at us with an open eye. There are some others that are a little bit
resistant but not too bad. And so I think the IMP leadership team has
and all the IMP teachers have done a really great job about not trying
to separate between hey Im an IMP teacher and youre not. But just
saying hey were all math teacherswe want these kids to leam
The IMP teachers are a closely knit group and according to Bishop ride together to
workshop locations (about 80 miles) and used their car time to continue discussions
initiated in the workshop sessions.
Students at Cottonwood. Students entering Cottonwood as ninth graders or as
transfer students individually select to enroll in a traditional sequence of mathematics
courses or the IMP sequence. To meet graduation requirements, all students must
have six mathematics credits (six semesters), including at least one year of college-
bound mathematics (i.e., algebra, geometry, IMP 1, IMP 2). As mentioned above,
during the 2001-2002 school year, about one-fifth of Cottonwood students enrolled in
mathematics classes are IMP students.

Cottonwood Teacher Leader: Bruce
Bruce began his career in education at Cottonwood High School five years
ago teaching geometry and an applied mathematics course, designed to support
lower-level students in earning a math credit. Bruces original plans were to study
mechanical engineering but his desire to interact and be around people led him to
consider teaching. Bruce explained:
Its not really the mathematics that thrills me about teaching. Its
working with the students.... where I get to interact with the
students a little bit more and really get to know what theyre thinking
and how theyre feeling.
Three years ago when Cottonwood teachers were in the process of
implementing IMP, the department chairperson approached Bruce and suggested that
he might be a good fit for IMP. Because IMP provided Bruce a curriculum to work
with that matched his philosophy, he dove in feet first and its really been the way I
was trying to teach the other classes. Bruce, along with two of his colleagues, began
teaching IMP in the 1999-2000 school year.
Becoming a Teacher Leader
After two years of IMP implementation, one of Bruces colleagues who
initiated IMP at Cottonwood and served as the department chairperson accepted a
position in the central office as district mathematics coordinator. When that

occurred, Bruce was selected by administration to be the mathematics department
chairperson. His first year in that position coincided with the data-collection year.
During the year of study, Bruce also served as the facilitator for IMP
professional development at Cottonwood. He and three newer IMP teachers, Bishop,
Kara, and Tip had a common period devoted to improving their practice. Bruce
explained that this experience has really forced us to start thinking about how were
teaching and how we can improve it.
Bruce described a leader as one who stays out of the way a little bit but also
to make it to where people can do what they need to do without all the interruptions.
Andrea, the parent representative on the leadership team, characterized Bruce as the
kind of educational leader who is kind of the quiet person whos getting everything
donethat is really a doer, thats not in the whole limelight.... When asked to
describe his perception of teacher leadership, Bruce responded:
Really, its just trying to get ideas out there. You know, make sure
they have all the information, make sure youre kind of helping them
make decisions. Youre not actually telling them to do anything. Just
kind of listening to what their problems are, making sure you kind of
smooth the way for them, make sure you take down what obstacles
you can that are outside the classroom and stuff.
To get a visual of Bruces work as a teacher leader, I asked him in the first
interview to describe a typical day as a teacher leader. Using his words, transcripts of
Cottonwood interviews and my own observations, I describe such a day in the
following section.

A Typical Day
Bruce normally arrived at Cottonwood about an hour before school began. He
settled at his desk in the math office and spent about an hour studying the lessons he
would teach that day. As the time approached 6:45 a m., other teachers arrived in the
mathematics office to begin their school day. Bruce explained that once the school
day officially began everything else is somebody elses time at that point.
At 7:00 am., the school day officially began. Bruce taught four consecutive
classes in the morning, including one section of the third-year IMP class. Each
Cottonwood class met daily for approximately 50 minutes. Bruces four classes were
all taught in the same classroom, located adjacent to the mathematics office. Between
classes, Bruce answered questions for teachers and students as he prepared for the
next hour.
As the fifth period of the day began, Bruce returned to the math office and
joined three IMP teachers who were already seated at one of the long tables in the
center of the office. Kara and Tip were teaching IMP 1 for the first time and Bishop
was teaching IMP 2 for the first time. They and Bruce, a more experienced IMP
teacher, had a common period devoted exclusively to professional development
focusing on IMP. During that same class period, Candy, one of the other more
experienced IMP teachers, was present in the office as she utilized her individual
planning time. Candy frequently added her input to the conversation.

Bishop described how they typically used this common time:
We have an agenda that weve set up from the week before so we
will either work on a rubric or talk about the lesson plan that we
need to do for our video. We could be debriefing with different
things. Like well take one day and kind of plan for different
lessons that are coming up, bounce ideas off of each other.
Bishop, Kara, and Tip did most of the talking with Bruce offering input when asked
or redirecting the conversation when necessary.
The lunch hour approached as the four finished their discussion. Other
mathematics department members began entering the office and often joined the
small group to continue the conversation as they enjoyed lunch. During that same
time, students entered the room with questions and request for help with their
Following lunch, Bruce carried out other responsibilities as a department
chairperson and IMP teacher leader. He spent part of that time communicating with
counselors or administrators regarding department or IMP issues. He described this
time as:
just running around, just making sure things are taken care of,
observing some of the IMP teachers, looking for things they want me
to look for, just kind of being known in the building, kind of
showing myself in the building so that people realize Im around
trying to get things done, whatever piece that happens to be falling
apart that day. Making sure its taken care of.
When classes ended at 2:12 p.m., Bruce talked with teachers and students,
helped students with homework, and finished any remaining paperwork. Shortly

thereafter, Bruce left the math office and headed for the practice fields where he
coached a fall and a spring sport.
Research Question l:What activities do teacher leaders
engage in within schools that are implementing IMP?
In my interviews with Cottonwood personnel, I asked each participant to
describe Bruces role on the leadership team and in supporting the implementation of
IMP at Cottonwood. Through my analysis of those interviews (as described in
Chapter 3), together with my observations at Cottonwood, I found three main
categories of his activities: mentoring, communication, and acting as a buffer.
All of Cottonwood teachers interviewed and the counselor described
mentoring the newer IMP teachers as Bruces main role. As described previously,
Bruce and the new IMP teachers, Kara, Tip, and Bishop, shared a daily period
devoted to professional learning with IMP. What emerged from my analysis of the
mentoring data is a rich description of Bruces support for experienced teachers in
transforming their teaching practice through implementation of a standards-based
curriculum. Bruces mentoring of these teachers can be characterized as that of an
experienced resource, a coach, a sounding board, and someone to help focus for their

Experienced Resource. Bruces three years of experience with the IMP
curriculum have given him a big picture of the mathematics and the classroom
practices that support student learning. He often shared these experiences with Kara,
Tip, and Bishop during their time together.
In his interview, Tip described his first year of teaching IMP as a difficult
transition for me to go from straight rows and teacher centered to being able to take
freshmen and help them to find a meaningful discussion. Tip considered Bruce to be
a knowledge source of the constructivist teaching, a knowledge source for
questioning techniques and for the teachers role.
Effective questioning was a focus for the Cottonwood IMP teachers as they
worked to create student-centered classrooms. Tip explained that they believed that
questioning was key to their effort to get student groups to work together to solve
things. Tip talked about inviting Bruce to observe his classroom to collect data on
his questioning. According to Tip, Bruce:
made a list of all the questions that I had asked and where Id been in
the classroom and who I had asked them to. And when he showed
them to me I had a long list of questions and then he kind of asked
me to look at them and try to decide what kind of questions they
were and what was the intent of the question.
Tip described the class Bruce observed as one he was struggling with. Upon
examination of Bruces recorded questions, he realized that the questions he asked

typically instant response kind of questions where I was really trying
to draw a specific response from a specific student or group of
students. [I] wasnt giving the students really a chance to think about
anything other than one possibility so I was leading them to
something as opposed to letting them find it.
Tip explained that he and Bruce examined the questions and how they were being
used, and Bruce asked him to think about how I could incorporate the higher-level
thinking questions more often____
As the three teachers worked on designing lesson plans to incorporate
questions that would elicit student thinking, Tip said that Bruce had been there as a
guide as they crafted these questions and then analyzed those questions. Bruce
provided direction for their work throughout this iterative process of crafting and
analyzing questions. As Tip described it, Bruce prompted the teachers:
OK, well weve gone though a process now of asking questions and
analyzing those questions. What types of questions do we want to
focus on for next time? And each time weve gone through a new
lesson, hes kind of been there to suggest, well, youve gone through
this type of questioning; lets look at maybe a different kind of
question. What would be another direction for our own questioning?
Bruces three years of experience with the IMP curriculum prepared him to
provide direction with understanding how the mathematics develops throughout the
four years. Bishop described Bmces role as:
making sure were looking at the big picture. Sometimes Tip and
Kara look at something like mastery instead of just a seed. He just
reminds them that theyll see it again in this unit next year, stuff like
that, looking at the pacing for the first year, just to make sure that we
should be about where we need to be so we get through the book and
get through all the units.

Bruces experience with the development of the mathematics throughout the
four years of the IMP curriculum was a resource to Kara in much the same way. She
explained, I see Bruce as being a mentor as far as asking questions about whats
coming up in the units, helping me to problem solve when I get stuck in terms of how
to teach a class or if it doesnt seem to be going right. For her, too, he was a resource
for instructional practice. Bishop explained that he and Bruce together often provided
resources for Kara and Tip. However, he carefully elaborated how they handled this,
We dont tell them so you should do this. We just offer some suggestions: you
might try this or this worked well for us....
The teachers descriptions of Bruces actions suggest that Bruce, in providing
resources for them, did so in a way that focused them on examining and reflecting on
what they were doing. Three of the teachers interviewed described Bruces use of
Cognitive Coaching3 techniques in his endeavor to develop their reflectiveness.
Coaching. Prior to the school year, Bruce participated in a Cognitive
Coaching workshop sponsored by RMMLC. Cognitive Coaching is a framework of
structured conversations for coaching teachers decision-making processes. Candy,
one of the teacher leaders at Cottonwood, explained Bruces role is one of being
able to coach and mentor the other, the newer teachers. She elaborated that Bruce
tried to use some of the things that we learned in Cognitive Coaching last summer to
3 A process of coaching teachers decision-making processes developed by Bob Gaimston and Art
Costa (Costa & Garmson, 1994).

instead of give advice to try to get them [teachers] to their own learning just like we
try to get our kids to their own learning.
As mentioned above, Kara, Tip, and Bishop focused on using questions to
elicit student thinking as they worked to create meaningful discussions in their
classrooms. Prior to their coming together to create a detailed lesson plan including
questions, Bruce conducted individual planning conversations with each teacher as a
way to focus their thinking about the lesson. Bishop elaborated on this process:
Then after those three days we came together, compiled
resultsindividual things and came up with a plan for what we
wanted to do with our videotapes and what we want to concentrate
on. That was very beneficial. I think it in the long run saved a lot of
time for future ones since we all had kind [of] an idea of where we
wanted to go.
With Bruce acting both as a resource and a coach, the three teachers created a lesson
plan; each taught and videotaped the lesson with their IMP 1 classes. As a group,
they watched the collective videotapes and Bruce facilitated a discussion, helping
them to reflect on what they observed and learned from this process.
Bruce also used Cognitive Coaching techniques in the day-to-day discussions
during the common period. Candy, who was in the office for planning during this
same time, reported hearing the purposefulness of the coaching coming through.
She recalled that she will hear him paraphrase something that has gone on in their
classroom or some problem the teachers are coming with and try to think of a
reflective question to ask back to them about that. Bruce acted as a coach when he