Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Dr. Marie Cianca

Second Supervisor

Dr. Caroline Critchlow


The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to develop an understanding of how teachers’ trauma-informed practices, attitudes, and beliefs are influenced by professional development. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s key assumptions for trauma-informed care and Guskey’s model of the process of teacher change were used in combination as a framework to study the perceptions of ten elementary teachers and an administrator in a rural elementary school in Western New York. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with the teachers and the administrator, using analytic memos and professional development training materials. Three key findings emerged from the study. First, the development of knowledge through effective professional development sets the stage for changes to teachers’ practices, attitudes, and beliefs. Second, effective professional development must connect to teachers’ lived experiences. Third, effective professional development is just the beginning of the trauma-informed process. Recommendations for practice for professional development trainers and school leaders include considerations and approaches to trauma-informed professional development. Additionally, this study’s recommendations for future research into trauma-informed professional development include the use of quantitative methodology and the long-term study of trauma-informed approach implementation.

Included in

Education Commons