Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Peter Moyi


Research indicates that a theoretical framework known as a professional learning community can make a positive difference in schools. This mixed-method study examines teacher perceptions of school leadership and climate in two rural elementary schools in South Carolina. Using interviews, focus group sessions and a survey, the researcher answers two questions: 1) To what extent do instructional leadership practices impact the implementation and sustainability of a professional learning community within a rural school system? 2) What is the nature of the relationship between the implementation of a professional learning community and school climate?

This study found a strong correlation between leadership and the implementation and sustainability of a school's professional learning community. A school system needs administrative leadership that understands the PLC concepts and competently leads the school with a strong commitment to success. The organizational framework known as a professional learning community was highly valued at these two schools and each school's PLC had a positive impact on school climate.

This study will contribute to the body of knowledge on professional learning communities and may be used to encourage school leaders to examine the characteristics of a PLC in order to understand a PLC's effectiveness. The study provides pertinent information regarding the development, implementation and sustainability of professional learning communities. The study indicates that creating a professional learning community provides solutions educators need to address challenges facing schools. Additionally, the study may serve as a reference to administrators and teachers who may seek to embrace the concept of professional learning community for their schools.