Term of Award

2003

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Educational Administration

Committee Chair

Michael D. Richardson

Committee Member 1

James Burnham

Committee Member 2

Lucinda Chance

Abstract

Shortages of public school principals have been announced nationwide in all school levels (elementary, middle/junior high, and high) and in all school settings (urban, suburban, and rural). During the last decade large numbers of principals have retired or left the field early as a result of low pay for the amount of responsibilities required, added stress, and the excessive time required for the job. More shortages of public school leadership personnel have been predicted for the future. Even though adequate numbers of available certified applicants for the principalship have been reported, many school systems have indicated a shortage of qualified applicants. Superintendents historically have sought particular skills and dispositions in prospective principal candidates that would identify them as qualified. This study explored the Georgia public school superintendents' definitions of a qualified principal in an era of principal shortage. The study was designed to answer the following major research question: According to the perceptions of Georgia public school superintendents, what skills and dispositions are perceived as the most important when seeking a principal during an era of principal shortage? Several subquestions guided the study: (1) Do Georgia public school superintendents perceive that a principal shortage exists in Georgia school systems? (2) Is the principal shortage one of qualified principals? (3) Is the principal shortage one of certified principals? (4) How do Georgia public school superintendents perceive the importance of instructional skills and dispositions of a qualified school principal? (5) How do Georgia public school superintendents perceive the importance of interpersonal skills and dispositions of a qualified school principal?(6) How do Georgia public school superintendents perceive the importance of administration and management skills and dispositions of a qualified school principal? (7) What core value(s) do Georgia public school superintendents perceive as the most important dispositions in describing a qualified principal? A quantitative research method was employed to summarize the findings in a survey of the 180 public school superintendents in the state of Georgia. Of the 180 Georgia public school superintendents, 155 responded. The survey fell into four skills and dispositions areas: (a) Instructional, (b) Interpersonal, (c) Administration and Management, and (d) Core Values. The results of this study clearly established that Georgia public school superintendents from all school system settings and from all geographical regions were experiencing principal shortages. The superintendents' definitions of qualified candidates for principalship positions placed a lesser emphasis on the areas of administration and management. A greater emphasis was placed on the areas of principal dispositions than on the skills expected in a qualified candidate for the principalship.

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