Term of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Lucindia Chance

Committee Member 1

Paul Brinson

Committee Member 2

Hsiu-Lien Lu


For nearly a decade, researchers have tried to answer the question, “Does a principal shortage exist?” The question is not whether a principal shortage exists, but what factors are causing the shortage? Traditionally, the assistant principalship has been the stepping-stone to the principalship. With the principalship continuously evolving into a myriad of expectations, there is a growing body of research that includes suggestions that assistant principals are deciding not to enter the principalship. The purpose of this quantitative research study was to identify personal and institutional factors affecting career advancement decisions of assistant principals in the state of Georgia. Using a career advancement decision survey created by Dr. Charles Jeffords, the researcher solicited responses from 978 assistant principals from all parts of the state of Georgia. Three hundred six respondents completed the survey online using Survey Money, yielding a (31.3%) response rate. The researcher sought to answer the two research questions. First, are current Georgia school assistant principals choosing not to seek positions of greater responsibility because of personal or systemic reasons? Second, what factors govern the career advancement decisions of Georgia assistant principals? The findings revealed the majority of the assistant principals in this study felt that the nature of administrative work making it an unattractive career choice is either a somewhat important factor or an important factor (66%). Furthermore, lack of opportunities (75%), a lack of training (68%), and a lack of visibility (72%) were additional factors that govern the career advancement decisions of Georgia assistant principals.