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Novice Principals’ Views of Instructional Leadership and Organizational Improvement: Two Case Studies

  • Author(s): Barnitz, Elizabeth Downing
  • Advisor(s): Conley, Sharon
  • et al.
Abstract

Recently, researchers and policymakers have been calling on principal preparation programs to equip prospective leaders with education and training in effective instructional leadership practices as well as in school improvement strategies (Grossman, 2011; Leithwood, Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004; The Wallace Foundation, 2009). Kellar and Slayton’s (2013) and Martinez-Kellar’s (2012) review of the historical progression of school leadership studies identified a transition from a concern with leadership effects on schools (often examined through a quantitative framework) to a concern with the psychological and organizational dimensions of leading people in an organizational context. Martinez-Kellar’s (2012) case study of two high school principals indicated that high leader self-efficacy interacted with mental models to foster conditions to promote organizational improvement. The purpose of the current study was to explore two new elementary principals’ views of instructional leadership (including possible tensions between evaluation and supervision) as well as views of their roles to facilitate organizational improvement in low-performing schools. Principal interviews were semi-structured, and following the lead of earlier research (Kellar & Slayton, 2013), focused on the conditions/ability new principals believed were important for organizational improvement. Data collection also included two teacher interviews from each site, district and site documentation, and site walkthroughs with each principal. Case descriptions were constructed examining the organizational setting and principal perspectives on instructional leadership and organizational improvement using the conceptual framework guiding the study.

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