Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership



First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Patricia Arlin


Appreciative Inquiry (AI) introduces a new approach to educational change. Most state and federal initiatives for educational change grow out of a deficit model of what is wrong with schools and what is needed to fix them. Implementation of new reforms has historically been mandated by administrators with little impact. The emphasis of AI is upon what is right with the organization and forms the basis for new initiatives and further change. This model proposes a cycle of inquiry used by leaders who distribute leadership across their constituents. Organizational learning is a process of individual and collective inquiry that modifies or constructs organizational theories-in-use and changes practice. Using AI as a process to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), embraces a distributed leadership structure, produces organizational learning opportunities, and creates the conditions for a more impactful implementation of the next reform.

The study explored the relationship of the AI, distributed leadership, and organizational learning qualities that exist within the five unified school districts in the High Desert. Additionally, the relationships were analyzed in combination with participants’ preparedness for the implementation of the CCSS reform. To explore the relationships, a survey was created based on four already existing instruments. A path diagram was proposed and path analysis was conducted. Inventories of appreciative capacities and principles, distributed leadership, and organizational learning capabilities in an educational system provided insight into the applicability of using AI as a process for implementation of the CCSS and future educational reforms. Throughout the analysis significant correlations existed and the model held. Utilizing appreciative inquiry, distributed leadership, and organizational leadership singularly or in combination within districts would strengthen CCSS implementation.