Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Richard Bernato

Second Advisor

Izzet Mergen


The purpose of this comparative, phenomenological, qualitative study is to evaluate the perceptions of expert teacher practitioners and their administrators on the impact that their participation in VCOPs has had on what Hargreaves and Fullan (2012) coined the Professional Capital of their organizations. How has the teachers’ development of a PLN or their participation in a VCOP fostered their growth as individuals or their Human Capital? How, in turn, has the expert teachers’ increased knowledge base furthered instructional practices, promoted the development of next practices, and enhanced their organization’s Social Capital? Finally, how has this new knowledge impacted the decisions teachers within the organization make as they work tirelessly to challenge and inspire the diverse group of students in their classrooms The lived experiences of the participants in this study evidence the profound impact that teacher participation in Virtual Communities of Practice can have on the development of their Human Capital, Social Capital and Decisional Capital. Their experiences within the open and participatory cultures they became a part of were powerful as they were able to personalize their learning and connect with like-minded individuals who pushed their thinking and renewed their love for their profession. It is clear that these interactions raised self-awareness and caused the participants to question existing beliefs and instructional practices. “Scanning and Storytelling,” asking for “Help and Assistance,” “Sharing,” and participating in “Joint Work,” accelerated their learning and brought about the use of new and innovative tools and strategies that enhanced their teaching. When evaluating the impact that these “connected educators” had on the Professional Capital of respective organizations, their colleagues’ readiness for change and the support and active engagement of their principals were key variables. As administrators become more adept at thoughtfully considering culture when managing the Social Capital within their buildings, the more and more these connected educators will be able to act as change agents and their impact will be transformational.