Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education


Identifying specific leadership behaviors of elementary school principals that create conditions for positive change is critical to implementing educational reform. The purpose of this research is to identify specific leadership behaviors of principals that have positively impacted the implementation of the Common Core State Standards through the development of professional capital.

The Common Core Standards represent a recent movement to create national standards, founded on the belief that schools have an obligation to ensure that all students are college and career ready (McLaughlin & Overturf, 2012; Conley; 2014a). Implementing the Common Core has challenged principals to develop leadership skills to support change demanded by the implementation of rigorous standards.

Principals and teachers were surveyed to identify the degree to which explicit behaviors were demonstrated by elementary principals to support a culture of change during the implementation of the Common Core. Survey questions were rooted in the conceptual framework of Hargreaves and Fullan's work on building professional capital as described in their book, Professional Capital, Transforming Teaching in Every School (2012).

Specific principal behaviors were analyzed in relationship to the development of professional capital, including human, social and decision making capital. Human capital refers to the quality of teachers based on their skills, knowledge and ability. Social capital supports the relationships amongst teachers and decision making capital refers to decision making regarding all aspects of teaching and learning (Fullan, 2014; Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012).

This study demonstrates that participating principals display behaviors that support the development of human capital and decision making capital to a greater degree than social capital. Two important takeaways of this research include the competency of principals in developing social capital as a means of enhancing and extending both human and decision making capital, and the influence of specific principal behaviors in creating conditions for positive change