Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Patricia L. Reeves


Public schools have control over whom they choose to hire to serve as teachers. When quality teachers are hired, all students have a better chance at achieving academic success. It is the responsibility of every public school principal to truly understand common patterns, which can assist teachers to become outstanding teachers, defined in this study as Star Teachers. It is also the principals' responsibility to make sure the work conditions of such Star Teachers are conducive to personal and professional renewal.

The passion to educate all children drives the following research questions: (1) How do Star Teachers describe the significant factors, events, and people that have shaped them as educators and people? (2) How do Star Teachers describe who they are now as teachers? (3) What do Star Teachers need to sustain them as Star Teachers?

The purpose of this phenomenological, qualitative study is to further describe performing Star Teachers of children in poverty as well as to better understand how administrators can support Star Teachers of children in poverty both professionally and personally.

Overall, the study revealed that Star Teachers come from all backgrounds. The significant people, events, and factors that have shaped them as people and educators vary greatly. No common theme emerged as to how Star Teachers came to be; however, Star Teachers do describe themselves as teachers in a similar fashion. They are collaborators with each other and their principal. They build positive relationships with students. They value classroom routines and procedures. They practice the instructional strategy of teacher modeling. They enjoy and seek leadership positions in their school, and they deeply believe that all students can learn and know it is the role of the teacher to make sure that happens. Additionally, Star Teachers in this study indicated a need for supportive principals who are positive role models and collaborators. The need for collaboration at all levels in the school community is one major overriding message from this study.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access