In the last 5 years, industries have begun to recognize a growing gap in the production of college graduates in areas of STEM. Researchers in various industries believe this gap will create a significant loss of competitive edge in the STEM fields, which will leave the United States pursuing STEM graduates from foreign countries and may ultimately leave the US behind in the industry of science, technology and innovation. This qualitative study analyzes the value and impact of STEM teacher leaders in secondary education. A phenomenological study was conducted with 10 secondary school science and math teacher leaders in order to gain a better understanding of teacher leaders' perceptions, classroom practices and the role of a STEM teacher leader. This study addresses the following research questions: 1) What attributes define effective STEM teacher leaders, according to teacher leaders who have completed the Center for Math and Science Teaching system? 2) What success strategies, among teacher leaders of the Center for Math and Science Teaching program, have enabled further development of teacher leadership? 3) What is the best model in developing teacher leaders, according to literature from 2005 to present? 4) What is an optimal model of developing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) teacher leaders within secondary education? This research aims to explore teacher leaders' perceptions of their role as a teacher leader based on strategies learned from CMAST and past experiences. Findings from this study provide critical data for making informed decisions on including important elements when implementing an effective STEM teacher leader system or program, and the impact it can create on science and math teaching and learning in secondary education. The investigator concludes this study with the development of a STEM teacher leader model that merges these findings with existing research.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Science -- Study and teaching (Secondary); Technology -- Study and teaching (Secondary); Engineering -- Study and teaching (Secondary); Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Secondary); Teacher effectiveness; Educational leadership

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Schmieder-Ramirez, June;