Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Publication Date



This qualitative research study seeks to explore the question, What has been the impact of New Mexico's three-tiered Teacher licensure system?' This study uses the voices of the participants to present perspectives, which give value to practices and experiences in the classroom. The three-tiered licensure system provides a unique type of professional growth for teachers. The study looked at five school districts throughout the state of New Mexico. Perceptions, opinions, and beliefs of participants over the course of fourteen months were documented and analyzed using a qualitative study design. Participants' reflections, audio-recordings, and field notes from interviews and focus groups provided thick description necessary for phenomenological analysis. These participants provided their experiences and perceptions to assist in exploring the research question. Many beginning teachers learned to question and explore their unique classroom opportunities. Some veteran teachers reflected on their teaching in relationship to practice and theory. Implications from this research include a restructuring of reform efforts in New Mexico. The focus groups and interviews provided rich narrative data that were used to explore influences of the three-tiered licensure system as a motivator for classroom practice and how it may contribute to productive educational reform.'


Dossier, Three-Tier, Teacher Licensure, New Mexico Teacher Licensure, Teacher Salary

Document Type




Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Alicia F. Chávez

Second Committee Member

Allison M. Borden

Third Committee Member

Peter Winograd

Fourth Committee Member

Ellen Bernstein