Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Bryan McCoy


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine teacher autonomy and practices that school leaders implement to promote teacher autonomy at three schools in a small rural town in the southern United States. The study examined how school leaders influenced teacher autonomy in the classroom. This study incorporated an instrumental case study method and determined how teachers interpret, construct, and apply meaning to the autonomy they experience in the classroom and at the school. The researcher examined how school leaders interpret, construct, and apply meaning to their roles in enabling teacher autonomy. The study implemented the transformational leadership theory. Key findings suggest that teachers value decision-making about classroom management and curriculum choice and that it is directly linked to positive levels of autonomy for educators at all three sites. Teachers shared the understanding that autonomy is having the flexibility to teach. Most participants had a strong understanding of autonomy and openly and willingly expressed their opinions.