Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Rieckhoff, Barbara

Second Advisor

Monkman, Karen

Third Advisor

Mindes, Gayle


Principals are responsible for evaluating millions of teachers through a formal teacher evaluation process (US Department of Education, 2012a). Students’ achievement relies on effective teachers (Danielson & McGreal, 2000; Darling-Hammond, 2015), and principals are expected to use teacher evaluation systems to accomplish that goal.

This qualitative study examined how five principals perceive the current teacher evaluation system to support and develop teachers. It also explored their experiences implementing it. Three themes emerged from the interviews: principal into coach, increased principal-teacher communication, and empathy about challenges. Based on the data, findings were analyzed through the lens of Bass’ Transformational Theory (1985) and Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership framework (1996). The principals’ extensive leadership practices and individualized teacher supports were an illustration of their commitment to serve and transform behaviors that contributed to teachers’ growth and thus improve student outcomes.

Findings from the analysis suggest that the teacher evaluation system successfully accomplished the goal of supporting the development of teachers. Through the increased communication efforts, the teacher evaluation system was perceived as a fair and empowering process for teachers. The training and natural emergence of the principal into the role of a coach originated from the teacher evaluation system. Although the principals acknowledged the existence of challenges, they felt the issues were outweighed by the net benefit the entire system had to offer.

This study informs researchers, practitioners, and policymakers on the value of principals’ perspectives as related to the development and implementation of teacher evaluation systems.