Term of Award

Fall 2001

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Michael D. Richardson

Committee Member 1

Bryan W. Griffin

Committee Member 2

Cathy S. Jording

Committee Member 3

Fred Page


The study explored the role of the Georgia elementary principal as the initial phase of comprehensive educational reform was implemented in the state. The study examined 320 principals' personal and professional demographics, role change as a result of implementation of selected law components, and district support during the transition phase.

The study employed a descriptive, survey approach to address the research questions. A self-designed survey questionnaire was developed to explore principals' perceptions of role change during restructuring, and included both a qualitative and quantitative orientation.

Findings indicated that the majority ofthe 320 Georgia elementary principals who responded to the survey were 46-55 year old females who worked in suburban areas of the state. They typically possessed the education specialist degree, had an average of 9 years experience in their positions, and planned to retire within 6 years.

These individuals perceived that they understood the A+ law, possessed skills to manage conflict resolution with stakeholders in school council meetings, supported involving teachers in making school-related decisions, and disagreed that "high-stakes" testing would improve student performance. Of the 12 law components selected for study six were perceived as valuable, five were viewed as of little value, and one was considered of no value.

Respondents believed that their roles had expanded rather than changed, and added responsibilities were perceived to fall within the management rather than the leadership realm. Survey participants viewed themselves as instructional leaders whose positions had become more political as a result of the A+ law.

Principals supported involving stakeholders in decision making, but preferred that educators retain ultimate authority for decisions involving improvement of student performance. A majority of the principals indicated receiving district support for implementing law components.

Implications for policy makers and practitioners focused on involving principals in reform design, funding mandates, role expansion, and the principal's role as it related to reform implementation. Four broad categories incorporated recommendations for modifying the existing reform document that included morale issues, funding, law implementation, modifications or deletions of specific components, and parent accountability.


This work is archived and distributed under the repository's standard copyright and reuse license for Theses and Dissertations authored 2005 and prior, available here. Under this license, end-users may copy, store, and distribute this work without restriction. For questions related to additional reuse of this work, please contact the copyright owner. Copyright owners who wish to review or revise the terms of this license, please contact digitalcommons@georgiasouthern.edu.

Files over 10MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "Save as..."