Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Lieberman, Joyce M.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Teaching and Learning


High school principals--Attitudes; High school principals--Supply and demand


The demands for and on principals have been increasing and the numbers of people willing to fill vacancies have been decreasing. The need for this study came from a concern regarding these issues. The purpose of this study was to analyze the problems facing high-school principals—the challenges that they faced and the ways in which they coped with them. A qualitative methodology using phenomenologically informed action research was used for this study. The researcher used voices from the field, including five principals and her own, as a method to reflect on four research questions: In what ways have principals acknowledged the shift from manager to instructional leader? What external factors are impacting the job of the principal, and what role do they play in the schools? How were principals able to cope with the leadership functions of their positions and to perform their jobs effectively and efficiently? What are the factors of the principal ship that attract individuals to the job and keep them there? After analyzing the data, the researcher proposed a new paradigm for an effective principalship. This paradigm linked the reality of the position to the skills necessary to perform the job and to the need for support structures. It defined the complexity of the position; the challenges that principals faced; the need for principals to have support structures; and the importance of personal skills and knowledge that allowed them to be effective in their positions. This skill and knowledge set included: time management, organizational, and communication skills; knowledge of leadership and management theories; and personal skills such as self-motivation and resilience. The results of this study offer concrete ways for principals to thrive within the complexity of their jobs and encourage more persons to seek the role of principal. The research defined the roles of the principal, which included instructional, managerial, and political duties; provided a list of questions for candidates to reflect on prior to considering a principalship; and suggested modifications for programs in educational leadership.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [158]-165).


xvii, 189 pages




Northern Illinois University

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