Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Katherine Kasten

Second Advisor

Dr. Marcia Lamkin

Third Advisor

Dr. Elinor Scheirer

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Sandra Gupton

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Sharon Wilburn

Department Chair

Dr. Jennifer Kane

College Dean

Dr. Larry Daniel


This research was designed to explore the perceptions of secondary reading teachers regarding their experiences while they implemented Florida’s secondary intensive reading policy. The purpose of this research was to obtain feedback on the policy implementation process for continuous improvement in future policy implementation. This research was qualitatively designed and conducted with three focus groups consisting of secondary intensive reading teachers from three Florida counties respectively, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns.

The bounding theoretical and conceptual frames of this study were founded in political systems theory and shared leadership. The data from this study were compiled from three focus groups consisting of secondary reading teachers who implemented Florida’s secondary intensive reading policy. Data analysis was conducted using Boyatzis (1998) thematic approach as a means of analyzing the interview data. The data were coded using Sabatier’s (1986) construct of empowerments and constraints. Themes were identified using Hatch’s (2002) approach to inductive analysis. Eisner’s (1998) concept of educational criticism and professional literature within the educational criticism process provided a guide to the selection of important and relevant ideas based on my connoisseurship of the secondary reading initiative and my experience as a reading coach and teacher during the initiative.

Three overarching themes were identified from the analysis of the teachers’ experiences: (a) A sudden change of content is a challenge to implementing policy change; (b) Challenges from inside and outside of the classroom hindered policy implementation; (c) Policy implementation brings insights: changing trends in assessment formats and instructional implications may call for new instructional strategies. This study found teachers were not adequately prepared in all areas to undertake the implementation of a new content area. In recounting their perceptions regarding their experiences of this policy implementation, teachers were exceptionally open about the areas in which they were not prepared to do the tasks they were given to do. This study also found teachers were valuable resources of information about the policy implementation process.

Participant responses reinforced the need for communication and dialogue between secondary reading teachers and district level administration with particular emphasis on incorporating teacher feedback on student scheduling issues, instructional technology issues, and curriculum resources and development. Participants strongly reinforced the need for intra-district and inter-district collaborative professional development. Participants in this study speculated on the implications of online literacy as opposed to its more traditional form. They noted that reading online is a different experience from reading a book or a test in paper format, and they perceived a gap in their instructional methods and knowledge regarding how to instruct students in online literacy.

Based on the discussion of this research, recommendations for further research and educational leadership were developed.