This qualitative comparative study examined three core components of RtI² implementation at two purposefully selected elementary schools in one county in Southern California. The researcher interviewed principals, teachers, and support staff regarding leadership attributes, skills and behaviors perceived as critical, professional development opportunities needed for, and the new roles for teachers and support staff in the implementation of the RtI² model at their particular site. The interviews revealed that the most critical behavior was a leader's knowledge of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Five additional leadership behaviors were identified to a lesser degree. Four of these behaviors were identified as "second-order" leadership behaviors that promote change. The fifth leadership behavior identified, but not considered a "second-order" change behavior, was the ability of the leader to use resources effectively. Prior and ongoing professional development and collaboration provide further support while maintaining the integrity of the implementation. Many staff members reported that their roles and responsibilities have changed with the implementation of RtI². The study concluded that site leaders must be knowledgeable in curriculum, instruction, and assessment as well as leadership practices that promote change efforts. Professional development is necessary for the initial and continuous implementation of RtI² reform efforts. Collaboration through teams is critical to ensure integrity of implementation and to monitor student learning. New and expanding roles for all staff members will continue to grow and redefine over the course of RtI² implementation. Resources, including staffing and release time, must be made available or adjusted for initial and continuous implementation of RtI². The researcher recommends that site leaders have extensive knowledge of curriculum, instruction, and assessment as they provide insights and resources to collaborative teams. Leadership development models should include leadership practices in leading change efforts. Professional development opportunities should include RtI² practices and procedures as well as instructional strategies for all learners. In order to ensure collaboration, school districts may need to reduce caseloads allowing support staff to collaborate more often with general education teachers. Schools and districts must also reallocate resources to provide the necessary support for additional staffing and release time for staff collaboration.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Leadership; Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership; Elementary schools; Organizational change

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Purrington, Linda;