Why we left : a study of North Carolina educators who left the principalship to return to the classroom

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Michelle D. Maxfield (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Craig Peck

Abstract: Principal turnover is a national problem with costly side effects. There is a growing interest in this problem of practice. Although more studies are emerging, there is limited qualitative research into understanding why principals are leaving their positions. This is a basic qualitative study examining the experiences of three former North Carolina principals who resigned their roles to return to the classroom. It is through the analysis of these stories that I seek to answer my research question: Why are North Carolina principals leaving their positions as school leaders to return to the classroom? I conducted face-to-face semi-structured interviews with two former North Carolina principals who are currently serving as teachers in North Carolina. I interviewed each participant three times. In addition, I used reflexive journaling to collect data from myself as the third participant in this study. The findings in my study imply that further research is needed to understand reasons principals are leaving their roles. The complexity of the role appears in literature and studies as a reason for principal turnover (DeJong, Grundmeyer & Yankey, 2017; Goldring & Taie, 2018; Hansen, 2018; Spillane & Lee, 2014). Principal impact on the climate and culture of a school stresses the importance of principals effectively managing the constant conflict and compromise with stakeholders (Bartanen, Grissom, & Rogers, 2019). As the experiences of Ms. Taylor resonate throughout this study, the need for additional studies on the impact of intersectionality on Black women principals is clear (Aaron, 2020; Moorosi, Fuller, & Reilly, 2018). During my analysis of our stories, five thematic findings emerged. I found that the complexity of the principalship is such that one person cannot do it alone, and that principals are in constant conflict or compromise with stakeholders. Also, principal salaries should account for the additional months of employment and increased workload in comparison to the staff they supervise. Finally, I discovered that principals are impacted by stereotypes related to race and gender identities and that there is little differentiated support provided to principals once in their roles.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2022
Education, Leadership, Principal, Turnover
School principals $z North Carolina
Teachers $z North Carolina
Labor turnover $z North Carolina
Educational leadership $z North Carolina

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