Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




STEM, professional development, mentoring, postcolonial, transformational leadership, Latin America


Although originating in the United States, STEM education has gained acceptance worldwide as an inquiry-based, interdisciplinary approach engaging students in active learning. Despite the ubiquity of STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, schools face challenges in providing professional development for teachers. This dissertation addresses a lack of adequate professional development to support STEM implementation at an international school in South America. Based on a constructivist assumption that teachers’ beliefs, cultures, and experiences mediate their learning, a mentoring program was selected as the most viable solution strategy. Mentoring provides a pathway for mentees to enact new strategies with their mentor’s support promoting reflection and professional growth. The change requires a transformational leadership approach, complemented by distributed leadership practices, to foster relational trust, inspire a change vision, and focus on the collective learning of program coordinators, mentors, and mentees needed to propel the change forward. A change path framework will be employed that awakens, mobilizes, and accelerates change forces toward the eventual institutionalization of the mentor program. This framework, combined with a robust monitoring, evaluation, and communication plan, will incorporate teacher voices and foster commitment at each phase of change. Structuring an effective professional development model that includes teachers’ prior knowledge, beliefs, language, and culture will promote a shift away from postcolonial patterns in the school context and build teacher capacity and confidence to teach STEM.