Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Robert Siebert


One critical challenge facing our public school system is the urgent need to transform traditional classrooms into 21st century learning environments. To understand what is impacting this transformation in schools, this quantitative case study used survey data to identify the impact of a teacher’s level of transformational leadership on student engagement in the 4Cs of the 21st century: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. The results build a case for teacher preparatory programs and policymakers to require the teaching of the transformational leadership theory as a core component of teacher preparatory programs. In addition, this research looked at the impact of teachers’ perceptions of 21st century professional development on student engagement in the 4Cs. A recommendation is to further research correlating teachers’ growth mindset and their transformational leadership rating to see the possible connections to further support teachers’ developing as transformational leaders within the classroom. Finally, this research challenges the New York State Department of Education’s recent requirement for 100 hours of professional development for new certification holders. While the research agrees with the need for ongoing professional development for all teachers, the findings show that there is no research identifying a specific number of hours as being optimal for learning, and it shows that developing transformational leadership characteristics in teachers results in greater student engagement in the 4Cs.

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