Perceptions of the building-level union representative in principal-teacher collaboration

Andrea Shaun Coddett, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to examine the role of the building-level union representative in representing the needs of teachers and facilitating collaboration with the principal to enact school reforms to improve student outcomes. A qualitative research method was used to collect descriptive data from participants directly involved in school-based reform. A purposeful sampling method was used because participants had information relevant to the study. Data collection for the study took place through interviews of six teachers' union representatives from elementary, middle, and high schools in the New York metropolitan area, demographic interview questionnaires, and the district report cards of research participants. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed for specific references to collaborative strategies. The findings indicated union representatives worked with principals to enable principals to stay within the boundaries of teachers' contracts, to provide public and private forums for staff to voice their opinions, and to include the union in school initiatives. Collaborative principals allowed teachers to participate as members of building-level committees, mentored new and veteran teachers, and empowered teachers to improve their knowledge and pedagogy by promoting leadership opportunities. Implications of the findings were that teachers' unions should identify ways to negotiate contracts that include expanded roles for teachers. Principals need to work with teachers and teachers' unions in a manner mutually beneficial to both parties and supportive of improved student outcomes. Principal preparation organizations and district superintendents should teach and mentor principals in developing collaborative leadership capacities.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|School administration|Labor relations

Recommended Citation

Coddett, Andrea Shaun, "Perceptions of the building-level union representative in principal-teacher collaboration" (2014). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3628708.