From Accomplishment to Influence: Professional Knowledge, Educational Infrastructure, and National Board-Certified Teacher Leadership
Matthew Shirrell

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



The George Washington University

Primary Discipline

Educational Leadership
The last thirty years have seen significant efforts to build systemic coherence in U.S. public education and "couple"? classroom instruction to the administrative structures of districts and states. In some settings, these efforts have altered organizational routines and structures, yet we know little about how these changes have impacted teachers' conceptions of professional knowledge or their interactions with their colleagues, despite the importance of these understandings and interactions to educational improvement. My study explores whether and how efforts to build systemic coherence shape teachers' understandings of professional knowledge and expertise, as well as teachers' interactions with their colleagues about teaching and learning. As cases of systems aiming to build coherence, I examine three school districts that built educational infrastructures centered on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standard's Body of Knowledge for Accomplished Teaching. Using analysis of interviews and social networks, I explore the ways that this body of knowledge, along with specific infrastructure elements, shaped teachers' conceptions of professional knowledge and expertise, as well as teachers' work-related social interactions. Findings of this study will inform the design of coherent education systems that build professional knowledge and collegial interactions in ways that are most likely to lead to educational improvement.
About Matthew Shirrell
Matthew Shirrell is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Administration at George Washington University. His research explores the relationships between policy, the social and organizational characteristics of schools and school systems, and teacher learning, improvement, and retention. Much of his current work uses interviews and social network analysis to examine the relationships between school and school system educational infrastructures, teachers? work-related social interactions, and teacher learning and improvement. Dr. Shirrell?s work also examines the impacts of federal, state, and local policies on school working conditions and the retention of teachers and school leaders, as well as the roles that partnerships with outside research organizations play in school district learning and improvement. His research has been funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, the Chan/Zuckerberg Initiative, the American Educational Research Association, and the Albert Shanker Institute. Prior to joining the faculty of George Washington University, Dr. Shirrell was a post-doctoral fellow with the Distributed Leadership Study at the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University.

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