Term of Award

Fall 2001

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Michael D. Richardson

Committee Member 1

Cathy S. Jording

Committee Member 2

Fred M. Page

Committee Member 3

Gerry M. Madrazo, Jr.

Committee Member 4

Victor G. Verdi

Abstract

In the state of Georgia and across the nation there was a shortage of principals. A new supply of administrators was needed to guide education through the 21st century. These leaders needed updated knowledge and skills to address the needs of an educational system affected by educational reform. Effective leadership allowed administrators to view situations in both the eyes of management and leadership. A mentoring program for beginning administrators provided guidance in developing these skills and in recruiting and retaining individuals for these critical positions.

The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of a mentoring program for mentored principals. This qualitative study analyzed data from two groups. One group consisted of eight principals from Georgia who had varied experiences with mentoring either prior to becoming a principal or during their first or second year as a principal. The second group consisted of four principals from Kentucky who participated in a required formal mentoring program during their first year as a principal. A set of twenty questions was used in a semi-structured interview process. The software program, QSR NUDIST (N5), was used to help identify patterns and themes in the participants' responses.

Following are the major findings yielded from the data. First, all participants thought it was important to have a mentor. Participants wanted individuals who wanted to be their mentor and cared about their success.

The main benefits from mentoring were: the confidentiality and trust between the proteges and mentors; the mentor serving as a role model and providing knowledge, experience and resources; guided instruction that provided help with problem solving and on-the-job practice; and help with career path and job advancement. Several participants recognized that mentors helped reduce the isolation/loneliness of the principal position. Others noted that positive mentoring experiences made them want to mentor others who were aspiring to be administrators.

Finally, although both formal and informal mentoring experiences had significant effects upon the participants, those in formal mentor programs perceived greater benefits than those who participated in informal mentorships. These findings enabled the researcher to make several recommendations for mentoring programs for entry-level administrators.

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