Term of Award

Fall 2010

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Barbara J. Mallory

Committee Member 1

Paul M. Brinson

Committee Member 2

Meca R. Williams-Johnson

Abstract

This qualitative study examined principal's role in creating and maintaining working conditions in schools in Georgia. The researcher reviewed the literature related to the five major domains of teacher working conditions in schools. The five major domains were time: facilities and resources; teacher empowerment; leadership; and professional development. The study was conducted to understand how the principal created and maintained conditions conducive to support teachers. The design of the study was a case study with multiple sites on the role of leadership in school working conditions. The researcher interviewed three principals, conducted three focus group interviews with teachers from elementary, middle, and high schools in Georgia. The researcher studied many documents, such as field notes from school improvement plans, minutes of various meetings held within each school, and from observations and school websites. Subsequently, the researcher answered the following overarching research question. What is the principal's role in creating and maintaining teacher working conditions? From studying the major themes and patterns across all research questions, the researcher found that principals identified major working conditions that matter to teachers as instructional leadership, including being visible and protecting instructional time, teacher empowerment, and leadership that is student-centered and team-oriented. The researcher found that the principals play a major role in creating and maintaining working conditions in schools. The researcher found that there were many forces perceived to be working against the role of the principal in maintaining positive working conditions within the schools. Though the principal's role is a complex and demanding one, it is critical for principals to attract and retain a high quality faculty. The study reinforced previous research that teachers have high expectations of school leaders in maintaining a supportive environment through collaboration, caring, and encouraging teachers.

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