Author(s)West, Olga E.
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AbstractThe purpose of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is to ensure that all students meet academic standards. However, in the last few years, many schools that serve diverse student populations have encountered difficulties in meeting NCLB objectives. It is argued that principals and district administrators cannot be the only leaders making the instructional decisions for continuous improvement in student achievement. The effective schools research indicates that sharing instructional leadership has a positive impact on school achievement. Prior research shows that teachers make valuable and essential assets to this effort as their role changes from classroom teacher to teacher leader. These studies have identified the skills and characteristics of successful teachers, teacher leaders, the barriers in becoming teacher leaders, and how the administrator can support the development of teacher leaders. The current study specifically examined the supports provided to teacher leaders and how principals supported ethnically diverse teacher leaders. The instrument utilized was the Teacher Leadership School Survey developed by Katzenmeyer & Moller (2001). This instrument identified seven areas that support teacher leaders. These supports for teacher leaders included developmental focus, recognition, autonomy, collegiality, participation, open communication, and positive environment. The participants for this study were 67 teacher leaders from a large elementary school district in Southern California. The study utilized mixed methods including the collection of archival data, a survey, focus groups, and interviews. The researcher conducted three focus groups with ethnically diverse teacher leaders and three interviews with principals that identified these teacher leaders. The study examined effective elements of support for teacher leaders reported in the literature and contrasted their impact on the development of White and Ethnically Diverse teacher leaders. The data was analyzed through descriptive statistics, independent-samples t- tests, Mann-Whitney U Tests, and coding of focus groups, and interviews. Significant differences were found between how White and Ethnically Diverse teacher leaders perceived supports with regard to recognition, autonomy, and support for professional development. In addition, new themes also emerged regarding effective supports, continuing barriers, and key characteristics of teacher leaders