Term of Award

Fall 2004

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

William Reynolds

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

John Weaver

Committee Member 3

Neal Saye

Abstract

This study addressed the lack of information concerning the principalship from the perspective of Georgia's principals. The study described principal's personal and professional demographics, actual and ideal roles, allocation of time for six task areas, areas of influence, and opinions concerning evaluation and certification of principals.

Findings indicated that most principals were married white males between the ages of 45 and 49 and born in Georgia. The educational specialist's degree was most common (73%) and 19% held doctorates. Two-thirds had been assistant principals before entering the principalship for the first time and 36% had been coaches. Approximately 71% held tenure and 59% indicated their schools had formally adopted some type of shared decision-making for teachers. Concerning school goals, intellectual and individual development received higher mean scores than social and vocational development.

Principals spent most of their time in management (32%). Less time was spent in student concerns (17%), teacher concerns (16%). school improvement (14%), parent concerns (12%), and collaborative activities (9%). Principals perceived their actual roles as managers, instructional leaders, disciplinarians, and personnel leaders. Ideally, principals perceived their roles as instructional leaders, facilitators of collaborative efforts, facilitators of change, and managers.

Principals perceived they had the most influence in hiring and retention of teachers, evaluating instruction, making decisions, and managing the school plant. Most (78%) said they experienced major constraints on decision-making, and budget was cited most often. Principals favored standardized tests and the educational specialist degree as a minimum requirement for certification. They wanted evaluation of principals to be determined at the local (district) level, but opposed the idea that certification be differentiated by school level. Most approved of teachers evaluating the principal's performance.

The roles and tasks associated with the principalship have expanded since the last study was conducted in Georgia. The principalship is distinct from this office in other states and at the national level. Considerable differences are apparent in job perceptions, working environment, and personal and professional demographics of principals of different school levels. Principals with doctorate degrees were more likely to favor: a) standardized tests for certification purposes certification, b) advanced degrees, and c) teachers evaluating the principal's performance.

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