Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Campus Only Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department or School

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Dr. Gary Marx, Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Ron Williamson

Committee Member

Dr. James Berry

Committee Member

Dr. Wendy Burke


Principals are required to be instructional and managerial leaders for their schools, which includes the responsibility of implementing educational policy. The primary purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore how middle school principals interpret what they must do to comply with Michigan's current teacher-evaluation policy and how that understanding affects their work to help teachers develop instructional practice. To frame the research, three questions were used. First, how do middle school principals make sense of what they must do to comply with emerging teacher-evaluation policy in Michigan, including the questions "How do principals learn what they must do to comply with emerging policy?" and "How do principals describe what they have decided they must do to comply with emerging policy?" Second, what do middle school principals currently do to help teachers develop instructional practice? And third, how do middle school principals describe their work to develop teachers' instructional practice prior to recent changes in teacher-evaluation policy in Michigan? Three principals, serving in different geographical areas of Kent County, participated in the study. Data collection procedures included a face-to-face interview, principal observation, and reviewing teacher-evaluation artifacts. After I analyzed word tables, three findings stood out: context mattered as school districts made a difference in terms of how the principals made sense of and implemented teacher-evaluation policy; the middle school principal's job requirements increased due to teacher-evaluation legislation or district policy; and each of the principals described collaborating with teachers as a way to help develop instructional practice.