Degree Granting Department
Psychological and Social Foundations
Waynne B. James, Ed.D.
Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.
William Locander, Ph.D.
William H. Young, Ed.D.
administration, complexity, mentoring, principalship, school leadership
The purpose of this study was to investigate the current perceptions of high school
principals regarding their perceived roles, professional development experiences that
impacted their careers, and the challenges and frustrations they face when enacting their
roles as high school leaders.
This qualitative study investigated perceptions of high school principals and
addressed three research questions: (1) What are the perceptions of high school principals
regarding their role as school leaders? (2) What professional development experiences do
high school principals report are most important in impacting their careers? (3) What do
high school principals perceive are their greatest challenges and frustrations?
Three in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with each of eight high
school principals. The results were based on analysis by the researcher and the two
expert panels. The high school principals perceived that they had a tremendous number
of roles and responsibilities within their positions.
The roles and responsibilities that were identified with the greatest importance
were: providing a safe learning environment, ensuring quality teachers and quality
instruction, high accountability expectations for all and mandates, and leadership within
the school and system. Professional development opportunities and personalized support
systems were perceived to be vital to the success of the high school principal.
Principals in the study reported that both formal and informal professional
development experiences were beneficial for their improvement as school leaders. The
principals perceived that when they created relationships with mentors and established
strong networks, they improved the likelihood of sustained support and success.
High school principals perceived the greatest challenges were management of
time, balancing leadership and management of the school, and navigating the legislative
mandates and accountability requirements.
High school principals perceived the greatest frustrations were issues related to
time and legislative mandates dictated to them by the local, state, and federal systems.
They faced constant pressures that could be directly tied to student achievement and
accountability measures. High school principals need to be prepared to assume various
roles. Further research may determine if roles and challenges identified by the eight
participants mirror other states’ results.
Scholar Commons Citation
Knobl, Stephen J. Jr., "Perceptions of the Roles, Professional Development, Challenges, and Frustrations of High School Principals" (2010). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.