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Superintendents' Perspectives on the Involuntary Departure of Public School Principals: The Most Frequent Reasons Why Principals Lose Their Jobs

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Abstract

Few studies have examined factors relating to ineffective school leadership. Such knowledge can help principals refine leadership behaviors and enhance job security. This study used experiences and perceptions from 99 California public school superintendents to examine the reasons why some principals lose their jobs. Superintendents' perceptions were compared with situational contexts and organizational outcomes. The results show that a principal's interpersonal relationships outweigh any other factor related to involuntary departure. In contrast to other studies, factors related to administrative skill were less important in explaining why principals lose their jobs. Low student achievement, failure to maintain a safe campus, or resistance to change had little influence on superintendents' decisions to remove a principal. Few differences in the reasons for involuntary departure were associated with district size or type. The relationship between certain organizational outcomes and the most frequent reasons for involuntary departure were not clear. Thus, the principal's effect on organizational outcomes appears to be indirect.

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... These instruments do not effectively address what may actually be a larger problem for ineffective leaders: lack of action. Interestingly, Davis (1998) states that it "appears that principals more often lose their jobs for reasons of omission rather than commission" (p.66). This creates a compelling case against the problem of poorly instituted administrative evaluation procedure. ...
... As highly complex organisms, schools operate in a fluid manner that is affected by many diverse stakeholder groups. Davis (1998) states that "the nature of work within most schools is generally characterized as segmented and unconstrained by rigidly applied systems of control" (p. 60). ...
... Lastly, Davis (1998) acknowledges that "political pressures placed on a superintendent to remove a problem principal may, in fact, have less to do with the principal's insufficiencies than with the perceptions, preferences, or particular issues held by a few 76 influential parents, teachers, administrators, or board members" (p. 80). ...
Article
The purpose of this study was to investigate the topic of the evaluation of school principals and the role it plays in fostering student achievement. The overarching research question for this study was the following: "Is there a relationship between the type and intensity of principal evaluation and pupil performance in DuPage, Will, and Lake County, Illinois public schools at the K-8 level?" While there are a number of purposes for principal evaluation, the tools and methods used to evaluate principals vary tremendously by both state and school district. This study addressed the degree to which principal evaluation affects students' achievement, as well as the principals' perceptions about the impact of evaluation on student achievement and their own professional practice. To supplement the primary research question, the kinds of evaluation that are identified were also correlated with the principals' perceptions as they pertain to two specific topics. The first topic addressed the principals' perceptions about the influence of principal evaluation on pupil performance. The second topic addressed the principals' perceptions about the influence of principal evaluation on their own professional performance. This study used quantitative research in order to accomplish the first objective of determining the type and intensity of the methods that are presently in use for the purpose of principal evaluation. An on-line survey instrument was used to collect the data. The second objective was to correlate the identified evaluative methods with pupil performance, which were based on Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) school scores for the previous year. As this research study employed simultaneous mixed methods, open-ended questions were nested within the larger survey that allowed respondents to indicate their perceptions about the effect of the type and intensity of principal evaluation on student achievement, as well as their own professional performance. The data that was acquired from this additional component added richness and validity to the study. The main constructs for the study included the following: *The identification of the type/intensity of principal evaluation methods that are in predominant use in DuPage, Will, and Lake Counties *The relationship between school performance level on the ISAT assessment and type/intensity of principal evaluation *The relationship between principals' perceptions about the influence of principal evaluation on pupil performance and type/intensity of principal evaluation *The relationship between principals' perceptions about the influence of principal evaluation on their own professional performance and type/intensity of principal evaluation
... Researchers of effective schools highlight the crucial role of the school principal and the importance of the principal's leadership to instructional effectiveness and improvement (Leithwood, 1992;Sergiovanni, 1995). Given the precarious nature of principals, there is a pressing need for continued research on leadership behaviors, especially those behaviors that are characterized as careerthreatening (Davis, 1998). There is, however, a small number of researchers (Davis, 1998;DeLuca, 1995;Martin, 1990) who have examined factors related to ineffective school leadership. ...
... Given the precarious nature of principals, there is a pressing need for continued research on leadership behaviors, especially those behaviors that are characterized as careerthreatening (Davis, 1998). There is, however, a small number of researchers (Davis, 1998;DeLuca, 1995;Martin, 1990) who have examined factors related to ineffective school leadership. The purpose of this study was to expand the research previously conducted on the issue of ineffective school leadership and to identify characteristics of career-threatened principals in Virginia. ...
... The relationships among demographic data, competency scores, sources of information about the careerthreatening problems, interventions initiated by the division superintendent and final outcomes for these principals also were investigated. These relationships were not investigated in any of the three studies (Davis, 1998;DeLuca, 1995;Martin, 1991) previously conducted. Figure 1 is a graphic representation of the components of this study. ...
... This suggests future research should more explicitly explore the connection between leadership, trust, and student achievement. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS Davis (1998) surveyed 99 superintendents in California to study why principals lose their jobs. He selected those who were deemed "ineffective," involuntary departed, or were removed from their positions. ...
... If one were to look at these failures from the trust frame, it would appear there was a failure of trust. Davis's (1998) findings are strongly linked to the results of this study in that low trust behaviors are predictive of low engagement in either technical or adaptive leadership, both of which are directly linked to student achievement. Hence, the development and maintenance of trust, specifically Respect, Risk, and Competence within and between educators, supports more effective systems that have the potential to address gaps in achievement. ...
... The trust factors of honesty (defined as Integrity in this study) and Competence are important facets as in conjunction with Respect and Risk predict both adaptive and technical leadership. Therefore, a lack of trusting coherence between site and district, as was evidenced in this study, not only negatively impacts effectiveness (Davis, 1998), but also inhibits professional learning (Coffin & Leithwood, 2000), which makes change in an organization difficult. Moreover, Silins and Mulford (2002) suggest that creating a trusting climate was foundational for organizational learning. ...
Article
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Recent studies have suggested that educational leaders enacting a balance of technical and adaptive leadership have an effect on increasing student achievement. Technical leadership focuses on problem-solving or first-order changes within existing structures and paradigms. Adaptive leadership involves deep or second-order changes that alter existing values and norms in an organization. Empirical evidence has also shown that several aspects of trust— benevolence, reliability, competence, integrity, openness, and respect—are strongly connected with school performance and stu-dent outcomes. However, the connections between trust and leader-ship are areas that are ripe for deeper study. In this article, we present the hypothesis that the multifaceted construct of trust has a predictive relationship with both adaptive and technical leadership. We tested this hypothesis by using an originally designed instrument that mea-sures each facet of trust and the leadership behaviors of school and district central office administrators. A total of 292 site and district administrators and teachers were surveyed in four school districts in California to learn their perceptions of their site and district leaders. Results of multiple linear regression models indicate that trust, partic-ularly the specific aspects of respect, risk, and competence, are signif-icant predictors of adaptive and technical leadership.
... One study found that as many as one third of the principals who left their jobs in a given school year did so involuntarily. In addition, no for-mally demoted principal found another administrative position of equal or greater rank and pay for the following school year, while fewer than 40 percent of those who were counseled out of their jobs found comparable positions in other districts (Davis, 1987). ...
... Under the best circumstances, principals strive to provide vision and unity of purpose within constantly evolving and turbulent political settings. At worst, they are confronted with the unrelenting task of maintaining structure and order within increasingly hostile, unpredictable, and conflict-ridden environments (Davis, 1998;Deal and Peterson, 1994;Gorton and Snowden, 1993;Sergiovanni, 1995). ...
... Such unsettling descriptions of the principalship and the data pertaining to the career consequences of principals who lose their jobs underscore the need to understand why principals fail. To date, the few studies which have examined this issue have focused on the perspectives of superintendents (Davis, 1998;Martin-Luchessi, 1990). Comparatively little is known about how principals perceive the reasons for principal failure. ...
Article
Few studies have compared the perceptions of principals and superintendents regarding the reasons why principals lose their jobs. Perceptual congruence on factors that contribute to principal termination is necessary to ensure accurate, appropriate, and constructive feedback about ineffective leadership behaviors. This study compared the perceptions of 124 California public school principals with those of 99 California public school district superintendents on 22 reasons why principals lose their jobs and on 9 organizational outcomes related to ineffective leadership. Principal and superintendent perceptions varied significantly regarding the primary reasons for termination. Superintendents most often attributed principal failure to internal personal insufficiencies such as poor interpersonal relationships and decision making. In contrast, principals most often attributed failure to external factors such as political interference and conflicts with the superintendent and board of education. An analysis of organizational outcomes found that most superintendents cited a high number of parent complaints as evidence of an at-risk principal, whereas most principals cited poor staff morale.
... There is a significant lack of current literature from the United States that looks at school administrator stress; the majority of research studies concerned with this topic come from Europe, Australia, and parts of Canada (Allison, 1997;Devos, Bouckenooghe, Engels, Hotton, & Aelterman, 2007;Earley & Weindling, 2007;Friedman, 1995;Green, Malcom, Greenwood, & Murphy, 2001;Kruger, vanEck, & Vermeulen, 2005; Thornton, Thomas, & Vine, 1996). Studies from the United States are very dated, some having been published as long as thirty years ago and very few have been published during the last ten years (Davis, 1998;Duke, 1988;Cooper, 1988;Roberson & Matthews, 1988;Kottkamp & Mansfield, 1985;Savery & Detiuk, 1986;Schmidt, 1976;Whitaker, 1995;Whitaker, 1996). ...
... The requirements and responsibilities for principals have changed over time, from a director of classroom management, to a building manager, to an instructional leader, and now, to a blend of all three elements plus the additional pressures of dealing with high-stakes testing and other responsibilities. Many researchers have commented on the changing role of the principal (Whitaker, 2003;Allison, 1997;Davis, 1998;McAdams, 1998;Southern Regional Educational Board, 2004;Gilman & Lanman-Givens, 2000;Haughey, 2006 Finally, it is important to recognize the ways in which principals use their experience to help prepare them for a role in central administration. This is only briefly mentioned in the literature, and only in terms of career trajectories (Whitaker, 2003;Papa Jr., 2007), and could certainly be further researched. ...
... The articles about principal turnover are from both domestic and international contexts and list a number of factors that contribute to individuals changing schools or leaving the principalship all together (Johnson, 2005;Gates, Ringel, Santibanez, Guarino, Ghosh-Dastidar, & Brown, 2009;Davis, 1998;Duke, 1988;Kruger, van Eck, & Vermeulen, 2005). The following paragraphs will explore some of the conclusions from those studies. ...
Article
School principals play one of the most important roles in education. Research has consistently confirmed this, stating that a principal’s influence is second only to that of teachers in terms of student achievement and the well-being of students and teachers in a building (Devos, Bouckenooghe, Engels, Hooton, & Aelterman, 2007; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood, Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004; Portin, Schneider, DeArmond, & Gundlach, 2003; Rodriguez-Campos; Rincones-Gomez, & Shen, 2005). A dynamic, effective, and compelling principal is a critical component in maintaining a successful school. Understanding the factors that contribute to the health, satisfaction, and well-being of practicing school principals is essential because of the impact that principals have on teacher performance and student learning. This study employed a mixed-methods approach and attempted to determine the specific tasks performed by building principals that contribute to their stress. Career trajectories, coping mechanisms, experiences with school leadership training providers, and salary and financial implications are interconnected with the research questions, and were also considered.
... Conflict resolution and collaboration are key attributes of successful leaders (Zalman & Bryant, 2002). According to Davis (1998), rather than lack of professional skills, the inability to get along with people is the main reason principals lose their jobs. ...
... Since managing conflict is an essential component of the principal's role, it is not surprising that principals perceived a high need for support in working with difficult individuals and groups; for example, teachers who create problems for students and staff, parents who disagree with school policy, and community members who are overly invasive in school affairs. In fact, many people (e.g., Davis, 1998;Fullan, 2003;Zalman & Bryant, 2002) argue that what school principals do is mainly about managing relationships and, within this, conflict is part and parcel. The ability to work well with others may be one of the most important skills a principal can possess. ...
Article
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This study explores the types of principal mentoring/coaching programs delivered in Wyoming school districts, USA, and the areas of need perceived by principals at different levels of experience. Some formalized district principal mentorship programs existed in larger school districts but these mainly targeted beginning principals. Most of the mentorship that occurred was informal. Priority topics for mentoring and coaching beginning and experienced principals identified were, in the area of professional socialization, data driven decision‐making and instructional leadership, and in the area of organizational socialization, working with difficult faculty members and working with difficult parents.
... Ambiguity in these areas eventually prompts concern or stress, particularly when evaluation criteria are unclear. The stress, in turn, decreases effectiveness (Davis, 1998;Fried, Ben-David, Tiegs, Avital, &Yeverechyahu, 1998;Harris, 1998). ...
... A superintendent's words have power, and when those words are used with strategic intent and action, as found within MLT, they can have profound effects (Holmes and Parker, 2019). Understanding this is critical for hiring officials as superintendents frequently do not complete their contracts or do not serve through multiple board elections (Martin, 2017), with problems in communication arising before problems in expertise as primary reasons for dismissal (Davis, 1998). ...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of rural superintendent’s talk on the perceived outcomes of principal communication competence and organizational communication satisfaction. More specifically, this study explored whether the source credibility dimensions of goodwill, competency and trustworthiness had a greater impact on the perceived outcomes when mediated by motivating language (ML) than not. Design/methodology/approach Direct and indirect paths between superintendent and principal communication were modeled, analyzed and evaluated using descriptive and inferential methods, including R version 3.6.1 with the lavaan package and the Sobel mediation test. Findings Research findings indicated the importance of superintendent talk and motivating language theory (MLT) that, when combined, constitute the medium of superintendent practice and enable a superintendent to execute their roles and duties. Additionally, the authors found the dimensions of goodwill and competency had the most significant impact on the two outcomes mediated by ML. This finding indicates that principals are calling for a more empathetic and interactive form of credibility than the long-established form of credibility based on expertise and stewardship. Finally, as the authors call for an expanded role from the community in research, scholarship and implementation of MLT, they suggest due to the lack of significance in trustworthiness mediated by ML, future research into trustworthiness and trust. Originality/value This study’s value is to increase understanding of educational administration scholars of MLT and its power to influence employee and organizational outcomes and highlight a reframing of superintendent credibility away from say and do agreement and expertise and stewardship.
... Most coverage concerning principals' employment issues provides an organizational perspective, exploring (a) the increasing complexity of school leadership (e.g., Hull, 2012;National Association of Secondary Principals, 2007), (b) candidate shortages for principal positions (e.g., Roza, 2003), or (c) superintendents' motivations for terminating principals (e.g., Davis, 1998). While these sources are specific to principals' employment, they do not address the relevant case law. ...
Article
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This article provides a tabular analysis of court rulings where public school principals challenged the adverse employment actions of involuntary transfer, suspension, demotion, nonrenewal, constructive termination, and termination during the period 1998-2012. The primary findings were that (a) the judicial outcomes were markedly in favor of the defendant school districts and (b) although the number of claims had increased during this 15-year period, the outcomes trend did not correspondingly shift in favor of the plaintiff-principals.
... Conversely, relations between principals and subordinates can also be considered one of the obstacles that hamper work (Davis, 1998). In fact, negative behaviors on the part of principals have a stronger impact on teachers than positive behaviors of principals (Bulach, Boothe, & Pickett 1998). ...
... The opposite also held: relationships that were distant or aloof inhibited leader learning. As such, a lack of alignment in regard to perceptions of trust between leaders not only negatively impacts overall effectiveness and coherence ( Davis 1998) but also inhibits professional learning (Coffin and Leithwood 2000), which makes improvement within a district that much more difficult. So not only is trust in general important, but that trust needs to be mutual between leaders. ...
Article
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Recent work suggests the importance of collaboration among district-office and school leaders. Most studies examine prosocial relationships, but negative social ties, which may be more consequential, are rarely examined. We collected survey data from 78 educational leaders on perceptions of culture and negative relationships and used social-network analysis to examine the likelihood of leaders forming negative relationships. Findings indicate that “senders”; of negative ties tended to be district-office leaders, who often reported higher efficacy and perceived less trust, whereas “receivers”; of negative ties were more likely to perceive more trust and have been employed in the district longer.
... This is due to the fact that management is seen as a men's job (Streitmatter, 1999). Davis (1998) stated that the proportion of women administrators was lower than the men, according to him the proportion of women administrators in educational institutes is almost the same as a century ago. ...
Article
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The purpose of this study is to reveal leadership behaviors of women administrators in education. The research was designed using the survey model and it was conducted with 936 randomly selected teachers who work on the schools administered by women administrators, in Istanbul. The Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire (Hemphill & Coones, 1957) has been used for data collection. T-test and ANOVA techniques have been used for data analysis. As the result of the research, it has been found that women administrators usually show “initiation of structure” type leadership behaviors.
... or errors in proficiency within the principalship become apparent (Davis 1998). Frequently, along with failure to communicate effectively (Kowalski and Brunner 2011) there is a disconnection among administrative standards, professional practice, and professional preparation. ...
Article
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Utilising the oral language of a principal leading an inner-city at-risk elementary school in a large urban school district in the southwestern USA, the researchers tested behavioural integrity and the dimensions of source credibility (competence, goodwill, and trustworthiness) as antecedents to Motivating Language Theory and the ML Model. Teacher perception data at the Title I elementary school was used for this quantitative study. Over 95% of the teachers responded to a survey each year for a three-year period. Each year, there were statistically significant correlations between each of the antecedents and motivating language. The antecedents accounted for 66–75% of the total variance for motivating language depending on the year based on regression analysis. The results of this study extend the field of Motivating Language Theory and the ML Model, and further explain how the work of principals is accomplished.
... The existing educational research is filled with evidence supporting technical competencies specific to teaching (States, Detrich, & Keyworth, 2017). In spite of the substantial body of research supporting technical competencies, anecdotal reports abound of teachers proficient in technical competencies failing on the job because they lacked essential soft skills (Davis, 1998;Wragg, Haynes, Wragg, & Chamberlin, 2005). In 2015, Pew ...
Article
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A teacher’s success is predicated on effective mastery of two requisite skill categories: technical competencies and personal competencies (soft skills). Technical skills are the specific skills and factual knowledge intrinsic to a specific job. Technical competencies elemental to teaching include instruction, assessment, and classroom management. Personal competencies, on the other hand, are skills broadly applicable to almost all professions; they create the foundation that enables a person to effectively use technical skills. Personal competencies basic to teaching include high expectations, love of learning, active listening, ability to adapt to novel situations, empathy, cultural sensitivity, positive regard for students, and good time management. Personal competency research shows large effect sizes, ranging from 0.72 to 0.87, for effective teacher-student relations that increase student academic performance and improve classroom climate. Unfortunately, teacher preparation and on-the-job staff development neglect this important training. To remedy the situation, more research is required to better define the field of personal competencies, and expanded training, including coaching, must be adopted during pre-service and induction.
... Second, in a discussion of how one principal negatively affected his school's teachers and climate, Brooks (2006) similarly cited abuse of authority and use of power for manipulation, as well as behaviors such as blaming others and failing to see one's shortcomings. Third, Davis (1998) found that the most frequent reason why school principals involuntarily left their jobs was failure to build and maintain positive interpersonal relationships. These principals were described as intimidating and manipulative, lacking integrity, and failing to listen. ...
Article
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Humility in leadership has received growing scholarly attention in recent years. However, the literature is devoid of empirical studies of the relationship between humility, confidence (an attribute consistently linked to effective leadership) and leader effectiveness. This quantitative study examined the understudied relationships among these three concepts. In this study, 137 teachers from K-12 educational settings completed a survey measuring their perceptions of their principals' confidence, humility and leader effectiveness. Results showed that humility and confidence were strongly and positively related to each other and to leader effectiveness. The findings provide support for the importance of humility and confidence as attributes of effective leadership and have potentially important implications for educational leadership.
... Further factors as to why the role is extremely demanding are found in numerous studies. Davis (1998) used a telephone survey with ninety-nine California public school superintendents to investigate why principals 'fail' at their jobs. The study listed the reasons why the role of principal is demanding because "even the most skilled and experienced principals run the risk of failing in their jobs as a result of actions, events, or outcomes over which they may not always have direct control" (p. ...
Thesis
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The purpose of this exploratory case study was to gather, examine, and define school leadership ‘adversity experiences’ of elementary school principals in an Ontario school board. This qualitative study examined how principals use resiliency strategies to manage adversity in the course of their school leadership. Lastly, the study examined supports, professional learning, and/or programs specific to the Ontario context that exist for principals experiencing adversity.
... Furthermore, principals believed their evaluation was politically-charged (Davis and Hensley 1999) and asserted that it negatively impacted their motivation and performance (Reeves 2005). Models of principal evaluation that emphasize interpersonal relationships may lead to principal burnout and dismissal (Davis 1998;Friedman 1995). As an alternative, developmental and differentiated evaluation models were suggested. ...
Article
This phenomenological study sought to understand principals’ lived experiences of being evaluated with reliance on the principles of developmental supervision and adult learning theory. Analysis of interview data from 16 principals revealed 3 major constructs in principal evaluation: evaluation is a complex, constantly changing system; principal evaluation is a year-long continuous process; and, effective principal evaluation is transparent, planned, and aligned with personal and system goals. Principal evaluation incorporated experiential and self-directed learning, and emphasized structure, collaboration, and ownership of the process by principals. Directive informational and collaborative interpersonal approaches were favored by principals and their evaluators. The findings contribute new knowledge about the phenomenon and have implications for reconceptualization and redesign of principal evaluation processes.
... Faced with contradictory issues, novice principals describe their initial experiences with mixed feelings. To some, the challenges are described as intriguing and exciting (Bagi, 2015), while to others, they can be daunting (Edwards, 2016) and lead to self-doubt (Earley & Bubb, 2013) and conflict-laden environments (Davis, 1998). The situation becomes worse when novice principals receive little support, such as induction courses and practical guidance (Bagi, 2015;Yeatts, 2005), and yet are burdened with a considerable workload (Bagi, 2015;Liljenberg & Andersson, 2019;Oplatka, 2017aOplatka, , 2017bTurkoglu & Cansoy, 2020). ...
Article
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As school leaders, novice principals faced some challenges within the first years of their leadership journey. This mixed-methods study explores the initial challenges faced by novice principals while leading their schools. At the same time, their countering strategies in handling the initial challenges are also being explored. A total of 168 novice principals responded to all items within a questionnaire on their initial challenges and their useful strategies to overcome the challenges. In addition, 11 novice principals were interviewed for in-depth information on their challenges and possible strategies in overcoming them. Findings revealed that dealing with a previous principal’s legacy and heavy workloads were major challenges faced by novice principals. In terms of their countering strategies, novice principals employed various approaches such as organizing an initial meeting with teachers, getting parents involved in school activities, and sharing leadership practice.
... Contrasting research (Hallinger & Heck, 1996) argued that principal effectiveness has little effect on student achievement. Pointing toward the complexity of the issue, Davis (1998) asked 99 superintendents in California to report central reasons why principals left their jobs involuntarily. The top five reasons were ranked by frequency of response. ...
Article
This study chronicles the experiences, challenges, and barriers faced by an elementary principal during the first year of the recovery of a low-performing school in Central Georgia whose superintendent mandated the implementation of an external, state-appointed, school improvement team. The school improvement team chose the America's Choice program as its model for recovering the low-performing school. The constant comparative method of data analysis was incorporated in this qualitative case study. Drawing from research in the fields of mental health, emergency management, environmental philosophy, medicine, and law, the researcher introduces the construct of recovery as an alternative philosophy to those of restructuring and reconstitution during the reform of low-performing and failing schools. Results indicated the principal faced challenges in the areas of communication, conflict with the school improvement team and its team leader, time management, and the maintenance of both staff and personal morale during the first year of recovery. The principal viewed the intervention itself as an intrusion and an affront to the school, staff, and himself due to the school's demonstrated progress in student achievement during the two years prior to the implementation of the school improvement team. The effects on the principal included his lack of confidence in the intervention, questioning his role as school leader, and questioning his future at the school. At the conclusion of the first year, the principal feared a negative impact on student achievement, an emotional effect on the school's self-image as expressed by the staff, and held a tentative view toward the school's future. After the emergence of an improved state of communication between the principal and his superiors, the local superintendent and Board of Education decided to abandon both the school improvement team and America's Choice at the conclusion of the first year of recovery. Discussion and implications are presented for principals, hiring committees, and school system leaders contemplating recovery efforts in other low-performing schools. Further implications for the construct of recovery are discussed.
Article
As a result of complex school reforms the role of the principal has undergone significant changes, internationally. Consequently, a considerable number of principals leave their positions, both voluntarily and involuntarily. This article presents the findings of a study into job mobility, concentrating on involuntary or premature departure amongst principals in primary and secondary education in the Netherlands. All primary and secondary schools with job mobility over a period of three years were traced: 920 schools reported job mobility for 1009 principals. The authors then examined which part of this job mobility consisted of premature departure. For this purpose, three characteristics of job mobility were investigated: involuntariness, labour disputes and official reasons reported for job mobility. The data were also analysed for male and female principals separately.
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Building on and reconsidering previous research on organizational models of education, the authors argue that while many administrators in education are still trying to manage ambiguous, and occasionally “anarchic” organizations effectively, the ambivalences of both loose and tight structures are today better understood than 25 years ago. In a development paralleling the evolution of organizational thinking in corporate management which no longer posits a “one-best-system hierarchy”, developments in education theory and practice point to the emergence of hybrid models of organization that capture the advantages of centralization and coordination produced by hierarchy while attempting to harness the advantages of more decentralized organizational structures.
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Purpose – This paper sets out to posit that the new economy places a new set of demands on schools and those who lead. Mindfulness, intentional engagement of people and adaptive confidence are needed developmental features of beginning principal success. The paper examines how beginning principals in Canada respond to the capacity‐building work of leading learning communities. Design/methodology/approach – The paper examines data from a number of Canadian studies of beginning principalship and makes sense of these data using learning community and leadership literature. Findings – Beginning principals must create a learning community culture that sustains and develops trust, collaboration, risk taking, reflection, shared leadership, and data‐based decision making. Mindfulness, engaging people in capacity building and the development of adaptive confidence are key features of new principal maturation. Originality/value – Beginning principals need to first develop personal, then collective efficacy, as well as mindfulness of their own learning and the learning culture. Further, beginning principals must intentionally engage people in acts of capacity building, together with conveying adaptive confidence in order to effectively foster professional learning communities.
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This article takes a critical look at administrative decision making in schools and the extent to which complex decisions conform to normative models and common expectations of rationality. An alternative framework for administrative decision making is presented that is informed, but not driven, by theories of rationality. The framework assumes that as problem complexity increases, human capacity for rational analysis decreases, and the mind searches, instead, for heuristic and intuitive ways to reduce cognitive demands. The article provides a number of practical suggestions for improving administrative decision making that are drawn from my research with 92 public school principals. (Contains 1 figure.)
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This article examines the politics of principal evaluation through both an extensive review of the literature and in-depth interviews with principals and superintendents. The findings reveal that the format and processes used in principal evaluation often vary from one district to another and that principals and superintendents frequently hold different perspectives about the purposes and usefulness of evaluation. Most principals felt their evaluations were not useful and were unduly influenced by political forces beyond their control. Superintendents believed that evaluations were well developed and useful in assessing principal competence. Principals should take an active role in the development and implementation of evaluation processes, while superintendents need to clearly communicate evaluation processes, purposes, and sources of information.
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There is mounting international research evidence that the work of school principals is increasingly difficult, time consuming and more unattractive to prospective applicants. We suggest that the solution to this situation lies in redesigning the work that principals do. Using the New London Group’s (1996) definition of design as both process and product and as a hybrid of existing resources, we offer five cases of redesign: distributed pedagogical leadership, co-principalship, shared principalship, multi-campus principalship, and community-based principalship. We argue that these examples show that redesigns that focus on the school, rather than on the work of the principal, have more far-reaching effects, but are also much more vulnerable to context. We propose three emerging principles for redesign viz. developing a strong warrant for redesign, attending to infrastructure and building organic relations between school and community.
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The shortage of school leaders, mainly caused by the growing complexity of the job is steadily growing in recent years. This study reports on the results of a comparative empirical study into the causes of premature departure for male and female principals in primary and secondary education. Principals who have experienced premature departure themselves served as respondents. The risk factors for premature departure were researched in four areas: the school organization, the working environment including the school culture, the selection procedure and the principal him or herself. The results showed that the causes of premature departure are a combination of factors that are embedded in the context in which the leadership is performed and personal characteristics of the principal.
Book
This book offers a picture of the total HRM of schools. Management types are constructed and compared. Researchers have also tried to find out whether schools are capable to build a HRM in which the main objectives of the school are traceable. Do school leaders not only pay attention to procedures and systems, but do they also create the possibility for personal contacts, informal communication, and the expectations of the staff. Do school leaders support teachers to adapt to school innovations. These questions (and more) are answered in this book using qualitative research in 10 elementary schools and 13 secondary schools. Examples of best practice are delivered by an in- depth description of 5 schools. Het lijdt geen twijfel dat het personeelsbeleid een bijzonder belangrijke component is in het beleid van scholen. Leerkrachten vormen als professionals immers de kernfactor in de schoolactiviteiten. Hoewel scholen de laatste jaren meer autonomie hebben verworven in sommige opzichten, blijft de reglementering inzake personeel in Vlaamse scholen toch bijzonder omvangrijk. Hebben de scholen wel de ruimte om een eigen personeelsbeleid te voeren? Worden zij niet te veel betutteld door allerlei regeltjes en statuten? Op deze vraag wil dit boek een antwoord bieden. Er is al eerder onderzoek verricht naar bepaalde aspecten van het personeelsbeleid in Vlaamse scholen. Maar onderzoek dat het globaal personeelsbeleid in kaart brengt, is bijzonder schaars. De onderzoekers typeren in dit boek scholen en vergelijken hen met elkaar op basis van hun integraal personeelsbeleid. Dit gebeurt aan de hand van een kwalitatieve, diepgaande studie in 10 basisscholen en 13 secundaire scholen. In het boek wordt het personeelsbeleid in 5 van deze scholen uitgebreid beschreven als voorbeelden van goede praktijk.
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The effective high school principal. R and D Perspectives
  • J A Mazzarella