Term of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

James Green

Committee Member 1

Teri Denlea Melton

Committee Member 2

Stephen Smith


Nine semi-structured, face-to-face interviews were conducted to examine and explore how seven middle and two high school female principals in Georgia achieved balance among and enjoyment in the four life quadrants of work, family, friends, and self. The results from this qualitative, phenomenological investigation confirm the challenging, dynamic, and demanding occupational stressors associated with 21st school leadership; describe the participants’ lived experiences as they relate to the confluence of family commitments and the responsibilities of the principalship; communicate the physical and psychological impact of the principal’s role on holistic health, and the coping strategies implemented to manage occupational and personal stressors; and discuss how a shift in the ideology and mindset of district leaders could support female middle and high school principals. Findings from this investigation describe the specific methods the participants utilized to nurture themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Conclusions and recommendations for district leaders and school systems are included for consideration as educational stakeholders work to create collaborative partnerships with current and aspiring female leaders. This investigation provides rich, descriptive insights into the unique stressors experienced by female middle and high school principals and their collective worldview on the “essence of stress and work-life balance” for the secondary administrator.