School administrators’ perceptions of the experiences and challenges of the early/middle college high school principalship

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Darrell Anthony Harris Jr (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Craig Peck

Abstract: The current body of literature on educational leadership is very broad, and there is limited research regarding the experiences and challenges of the early/middle college high school (EMCHS) principalship. To better support EMCHS principals through the various challenges and experiences of their leadership roles, it would be wise to develop a specific understanding of this particular principalship. This understanding could possibly lead to differentiated support that could benefit both current and future EMCHS principals. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the EMCHS principalship by answering the following research questions: (a) What are the challenges and experiences of early/middle college high school principals?; (b) How do early/middle college high school principals navigate these challenges and experiences?; and (c) How do current and former early/middle college high school principals understand the meaning of culturally responsive leadership (CRL) and how does it influence their practice? Through a qualitative approach that incorporated interviews and observations, I found that EMCHS principals experience feelings of professional loneliness. This loneliness is associated with the various non-traditional responsibilities they must fulfill and the fact that they may be the only K-12 administrator in the building as well as the only Early/Middle College (EMCHS) principal in the district. It is through shared and distributive leadership practices, and the establishment of peer and district supports, that EMCHS principals attempt to address their sense of professional isolation. Having to meet the requirements and demands of both their college partner and school district was another common challenge that EMCHS principals faced. Participants typically navigated this challenge through effective communication and advocacy between the EMCHS principal and both their school district and college partner. I also found that the small sizes of their schools coupled with their target student populations served as both a benefit and challenge to EMCHS principals. Finally, the data from this study informs us that current and former EMCHS principals understand culturally responsive leadership requires them to develop a keen understanding of the student populations whom they serve. Moreover, principals from the study asserted that cultural responsiveness is not limited to racial diversity alone. Finally, current and former EMCHS principals described how they were intentional about helping their schools and faculty practice cultural responsiveness in addressing the needs of their students.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Culturally Responsive Leadership, Early/Middle College High Schools, Principalship, School Reform Models, Small School Settings
High school principals
Educational leadership
Culturally relevant pedagogy
College-school cooperation
Small schools

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