Building leadership capacity for K--12 school principals through professional development

Colleen Limoges, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

School effectiveness research during the last twenty years repeatedly affirms the role of the principal leadership in school success (Portin & Shen, 1998; Austin & Reynolds, 1990; Leithwood & Montgomery, 1986; Lipham, 1981; Sergiovanni, 1991; Taylor & Valentine, 1985). However, most typical principals have received little training or support to help them deal with the emerging challenge of school-wide leadership for student learning (Institute for Educational Leadership, 2000). In addition, many professional development options for principals do not address the skills that leaders really need, or they neglect to provide recent research on effective teaching and schooling (National Institute on Educational Governance, Finance, Policymaking and Management, 1999). ^ The purpose of this study was to examine the principals' perceptions of the impact of their participation in professional development on their leadership knowledge, skills, and behaviors, as defined by the ISLLC Standards for School Leaders. This study utilized a descriptive, multiple-case research design that involved extensive focused interviews with 15 principals in 4 similar sized suburban Rhode Island school districts. ^ The results of this study indicate that principals vary in their perception of the impact of professional development on their leadership capacity depending on (1) their formal preparation, (2) age, and (3) years of administrative experience. These findings validated the information found in the literature on professional development for principals and illustrated the controversy among practitioners and theorists regarding the use of ISLLC Standards as the tool to change the focal point of the principalship from management to learning. ^ The results of this study highlight several important findings that are significant to understanding the impact of professional development on the leadership capacity of K–12 principals in meeting the challenges of 21st century school leadership. Additionally, the data collected in this study supports the assumption that preparing current principals for the new expectations of educational leadership requires changes in the content and delivery of their professional development (National Institute on Educational Governance, Finance, Policymaking and Management, 1999). ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration

Recommended Citation

Colleen Limoges, "Building leadership capacity for K--12 school principals through professional development" (January 1, 2004). Dissertation & Theses Collection. Paper AAI3135665.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI3135665

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