Date of Award

Fall 10-28-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership (Ed.D)


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair

Dr. Raynice Jean-Sigur

First Committee Member

Dr. Ivan Jorrin-Abellan

Second Committee Member

Dr. Kate Zimmer






Todd L. Geren

Kennesaw State University, 2020

In this study, evidence-based practices (EBP) utilized for children with Rett syndrome (RTT) by a team of special educators in a rural elementary school was examined. Using a case study approach, three teachers in a severe classroom setting who teach a student with RTT were observed and interviewed. The researcher addressed the following:

1. What evidence-based practices, if any, are currently being utilized by local educators to educate a student with RTT?

2. What professional development is needed for teachers and teacher leaders to become more experienced and knowledgeable about those evidence-based practices to support the child with RTT?

Three participants provided a unique understanding regarding the interactions, philosophies, motivations, and practices utilized for more effective education of the child with RTT to focus on the needs of the teaching team in terms of professional development opportunities.

Based on interviews and observations, narratives were developed. Findings indicated participants made use of practices learned from prior professional training and practices used with other students with special needs to educate a student with RTT. In addition, four areas of need were identified in the research including: more information of RTT in general; practices/educational guides specific to teaching a student with RTT; opportunities for professional development specific to teachers who teach a student with RTT; support of administration to provide professional development for the needs of the teacher with RTT, to include development of professional educational philosophies connected to student need. These identified areas formed a well-rounded perspective on the needs of this special needs teaching team. The personal accounts imparted by the teaching team provided invaluable perspectives into their educational experiences and philosophies, helping to form relevant insights to be reviewed by the educational community.