Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education

Primary Advisor

Sherrie Nickell Johnson, Ed.D

Second Advisor

Janet Deck, Ed.D

Third Advisor

Leroy VanWhy, Ph.D


This case study explored how the teachers’ union in a mid-Atlantic urban school district used collaboration with the school district to foster a change in its organizational culture that was previously characterized by adversarial relationships. The change in the union culture presented a unique opportunity that led both sides to believe that there was value to short-term and long-term collaborative partnerships. The study was framed on an open systems theory of organizations and an evolutionary change theory. Evidence for the study was collected from published and unpublished data, field observations, a focus group discussion, and participant interviews. Overall, the researcher held one focus group discussion with three teachers, one-on-one interviews with three teachers from elementary and high schools, three school administrators from elementary, middle, and high school, two school district administrators, and two union leaders. The findings revealed that both the teachers’ union and the school district believed in collaboration, especially in closing the achievement gap between minority students and their White counterparts. Even though both parties expressed a willingness to work together, the school district, especially school administrators, may consider involving union members more in decision-making. Making collaboration an on-going process among stakeholders will improve relations between the union and the school district. Further research is needed in determining the effects of collaboration or the absence thereof, on the academic outcomes of students in the school district.