Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wholeben, Brent E.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


School principals--Illinois--Attitudes; Public schools--Illinois--Administration


This study investigated first-year school principals' individual perceptions of administrative priorities. Due to the significant mortality of principals during the first few years of contract, and the coterminous increase in a need for principals, it was vital to understand how priorities might change during the first year of the principalship, and the possible impact upon retention. Eighty-three new, first-year principals' responses to two different questionnaires were analyzed in this study. The beginning principal sample was identified from every K–12 public school in the state of Illinois. The study was a pretest-posttest design, utilizing descriptive foci from earlier studies by Whitaker and Erlandson. The present study examined where, and if, change occurred to novice principals' perceptions at the beginning of the year and the end of the year. When comparing end-of-the-year perceptions with the beginning-of-the-year perceptions, developing trust and building relationships was identified as a predominant priority, both pretest and posttest. However, gaining control of time gained priority by the end of the first year of the principalship. Nonetheless, very few priorities changed from the beginning to the end of the year. In addition, establishing a positive climate for learning was perceived as essential for a principal's success. Lastly, it was found that novice principals tended to be very critical of their own successes in their first year. The results of this study will help principal candidates assess their future work environments, assist school administrators to determine administrative entry plans, and facilitate broad stakeholder-based, organizational strategic planning. Therefore, these findings will be important in their bearing upon students, novice principals, teachers, superintendents, administrative preparation programs, and other constituencies.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [168]-177).


ix, 233 pages




Northern Illinois University

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