Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Trish Lichau, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Edward Kim, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Julia E. Britt, Ed.D.


In response to a large observable population of disengaged and bored students in urban high school classrooms, the purpose of this study was to identify the attributes of effective teachers, and their instructional strategies that have led to student success. By identifying and exposing teacher efficacy to other teachers at professional development seminars, and sharing inspirational and instructional strategies used by effective teachers, the rate of student success, as measured by student engagement and performance in classrooms, may increase. Research participants were teachers from two different urban high schools on the same inner-city campus. They served the same student demographic but worked under different leadership. A qualitative methodology with a focus on narrative inquiry was used to analyze data collected from hour-long interviews and 15-minute classroom snapshot observations. The research questions the principal investigator developed to drive the study were used to identify attributes and the instructional and inspirational strategies the teachers use that have led to student success. Relationship based attributes were the most prominent group of attributes identified. Instructional and inspirational strategies used in the classroom allowed students to make connections with the content and engage in critical and creative thinking in a collaborative learning environment. Further research is recommended to replicate the attributes of effective teachers for use in professional development seminars. The intention is to transfer the successes of effective teachers to other teachers, to purposefully engage more urban adolescents in the learning process, optimize students’ high school experience and their lives beyond the classroom walls.

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