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Perspectives on building leadership capacity among K--12 principals in a regional educational collaborative in the Northeast

Thomas W Kenworthy, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

Building leadership capacity is a critical component of the support that principals need from their district leaders to ensure overall success in the 21st century. A worsening crisis currently exists in educational leadership in which increasing numbers of qualified educators are either choosing not to seek administrative positions or feel inadequately prepared to assume leadership roles (Archer, 2005; Crews, 2001). District leaders, especially superintendents, must be proactive and take the necessary steps to constantly build leadership capacity among their principals (Schwahn & Spady, 1998; Fullan, 2001; Lambert, 2003). ^ This study linked the perspectives of principals' leadership capacity-building needs to the leadership capacity-building practices employed by their superintendents. The following research questions were linked to the literature on principal leadership, the principal/superintendent relationship, and leadership capacity-building to form the basis of the interview questions that guided this study and led to its findings and recommendations: (1) What supports do principals need from superintendents to increase their own leadership capacity? (2) How do these needs differ among the different levels of school leadership (i.e., high school, middle school, and elementary school)? (3) How are superintendents building the leadership capacity of principals in their districts? ^ This study employed a descriptive, qualitative research design to collect and analyze data. The researcher conducted face-to-face interviews with N=15 principals (high school, middle school, and elementary school) and N=5 superintendents from N=5 school districts that belong to a regional educational collaborative in the Northeast. Interview transcripts were coded for patterns, categories, and themes in accordance with the coding process described by Patton (2002). Categories and themes were linked to the literature on principal leadership, the principal/superintendent relationship, and leadership capacity-building to produce findings which were triangulated with data uncovered during document analysis. ^ The findings of this study reveal that both principals and superintendents are aware of the importance of leadership capacity-building for principals. The findings also revealed disconnects between the intention of the capacity-building practices employed superintendents and the perception of their principals. The results of this study will be shared with the leadership of the regional educational collaborative to which the districts selected for this study belong. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration

Recommended Citation

Kenworthy, Thomas W, "Perspectives on building leadership capacity among K--12 principals in a regional educational collaborative in the Northeast" (2007). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3286639.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI3286639

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