Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership

Major Professor

William R. Black, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth Shaunessy-Dedrick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joyce G. Haines, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Lamb, Ph.D.


prior role, recruitment, selection, effectiveness


The significance of the principal’s role in creating a generative learning environment to influence student achievement is well documented in research (Davis et al., 2017; Hitt & Tucker, 2016; Leithwood, 2012; Leithwood, & Jantzi, 2008; Sebastian et al., 2017). This research has led to the creation of frameworks for developing leaders and constructs identifying effective leadership practices (Leithwood, 2012; Murphy et al., 2006; Sebring et al., 2006), but very little research has been done to investigate the relationship between prior roles and principal performance. Research designed to focus on the professional background of effective principals, the relationship of how prior experience and prior roles influence the principal’s ability is necessary to gain insight for improving recruitment and selection of school leaders. In this study, descriptive statistics were used to analyze the 2018-2019 human resource records of principals in one school district with a comprehensive leadership development program to determine their characteristics, previous experience, and prior roles, then assess if a relationship exists between their experience as educators and the scores on their performance evaluations. The principals in the sample population were identified after a review of the human resource records for the 216 principals revealed 54 who met the criteria of participating in at least two portions of the school district’s pipeline program; the Aspiring Principals Preparation Program and the New Principals Program. The findings suggest (1) experience as a teacher leader influences a principal’s leadership ability, (2) there is a positive relationship to years of experience as a principal, and (3) comprehensive leadership development has the potential to generate positive outcomes across multiple factors for leadership development to impact school improvement.