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Voices of New Principals: Documenting the Needs of New Principals as they Transition Into Leadership

  • Author(s): Burt, Lindsay
  • Advisor(s): Tucker, Eugene
  • Wilms, Wellford W
  • et al.
Abstract

This qualitative study focused on documenting the professional development and support needs of new principals in a large, urban school district in the Western United States as they transition into school leadership positions. Prior research suggests that principals may be unprepared for the realities of the principal position by administrative preparation programs. Despite having completed administrative credential programs, new principals in this study with three years or less in their first principal position perceive they need support with striking a balance between the demands of being an instructional leader and dealing with school operations issues as well as how to manage time and the school community. Using a survey, interviews, and a document review, this study found new elementary school principals believe professional development and support must be focused on the knowledge and skills they need to be successful as school administrators and should be differentiated, practical, hands-on, and provide authentic opportunities for peer interaction and networking. The findings in this study, based on the experiences of new elementary school principals, can influence school districts and policy makers as they explore how to best develop professional development plans and support structures for new principals as they transition to the principalship.

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