Term of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Russell Mays

Committee Member 1

Lucilia Green

Committee Member 2

Percy Mack


Author's abstract: Public school districts across the United States are realizing a shortage in the number of qualified applicants to fill principal positions in the elementary and secondary grades. This need is punctuated by increased demands at the state and federal levels for schools to meet student achievement and policy mandates by the No Child Left Behind Act According to the 2011 adequate yearly progress (AYP) report, 63.2% of all public schools in Georgia made AYP. The data further indicated that 75.9% of the elementary schools, 56.4% of the middle schools, and 30.0% of the high schools in Georgia reached AYP. This data set indicates a severe disparity in achieving AYP among public high schools in Georgia Research has suggested that the principal's role and effectiveness are highly important factors in school-wide achievement. Public school districts are seeking well-prepared educators with instructional and teacher leadership experiences that provide evidence of adequate or more than adequate preparation for the principal position across grade levels, but particularly at the secondary school level. These instructional and teacher leadership experiences prepare educators to be effective principals beyond the regular graduate-degree-level principal preparation program. Based on the literature, successful secondary school music educators, as a natural job phenomenon, have instructional and teacher leadership experiences that extend beyond those of traditional content-area teachers. The purpose of this study was to identify the pathways to the principal position of successful secondary school principals in Georgia who are former successful public secondary school music educators. A second purpose was to identify from their perspective the instructional experiences and leadership competencies as successful secondary school music educators that may have uniquely prepared them for the principal position. This study also identifies the ways in which those experiences and competencies are utilized in their positions as successful secondary school principals. This study revealed that successful secondary school music educators possess instructional experiences and teacher leadership competencies that extend beyond the experiences of traditional content-area teachers. This study identifies those experiences, how the participants applied the experiences and competencies to their positions as effective principals, and their respective pathways to the principal position.