Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Anthony Colella, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jan A. Furman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jeffrey A. Robinson, Ph.D.


Leadership, urban, capacity building, professional development, mentoring


The purpose of this qualitative study is to understand how an urban school district designs and implements leadership development programs for internal candidates. The challenge of continuously developing a cadre of committed and qualified leaders is not new (Darling-Hammond, LaPointe, Meyerson, Orr, & Cohen, 2007). To maintain the high standards of instructional leadership and to continue sound practices in teaching and learning, school districts must think and move strategically to protect their investments in professional development and coaching, and to secure the future growth of its students and staff. The literature is clear and consistent on the elements of effective pre-service programs, candidate selection, and program implementation (Jackson, 2001). The challenge is how to implement these elements in urban schools in an effective and sustainable way. The goal of this work is to develop effective leaders, and Marzano, McNulty, and Waters (2003) noted that at its most basic level, supporting teachers and creating effective organizational structures are key attributes of effective school leaders. Effective school leaders are at the core of teacher growth and student achievement. Without them, schools lack the vision, focus, and support they need to succeed.

The population interviewed in this study was school administrators and teachers who participated in the aspiring leaders program sponsored by Paterson Public Schools in Paterson, New Jersey. In addition, central office administrators and a university partner who designed the program also participated in the study.