Leading coherent professional development: A comparison of three districts

William A. Firestone, Melinda M. Mangin, M. Cecilia Martinez, Terrie Polovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


A comparison of three urban school systems suggests that district offices can influence teaching through professional development. District leaders can structure their programs to provide coherent and content-focused professional development. The district orientation (vision, emphasis on professional development, use of human resources) set by the dominant coalition of leaders-including but not limited to the superintendent-in each district influenced the coherence and content focus of the professional development programs. District differences in their organizational capacity affected coordination and planning of professional development. The district with the most coherent focus on helping teachers develop deeper knowledge about select subject areas had the greatest teacher-reported influence on teaching practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-448
Number of pages36
JournalEducational Administration Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Public Administration


  • District capacity
  • District leadership
  • District organization
  • Professional development
  • Superintendents


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