Keeping the keys: mentoring and support for aspiring principals

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Gay S. Citty (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Carl Lashley

Abstract: The purpose of this research is to determine a comprehensive support system for assistant principals that would assist them in transitioning to a principalship. The life stories shared by the practitioners will give the reader insights into the world of school administration. Through hearing about the joys, the struggles, the responsibilities, the preparation, the multitasking nature of the job, and the stress that has resulted in many new principals' desire to return the keys to the school and exit the profession, the reader will see the critical need to develop a network of support systems prior to the first year in the principalship to ensure success and sustainability. A phenomenological approach was taken approach in conducting this research as lived experiences of the participants were captured through the interview process. Inasmuch as phenomenological researchers seek to understand essential truths about lived experiences, this qualitative approach best met the needs of the problem statement: What are the supports, as perceived by principals, assistant principals, and principal coaches that are needed for assistant principals that will provide a smooth transition to the principalship? The interview data was coded to search for the themes that emerged and lead to the summarization and recommendations that will ultimately envelope school administrators with layers of support that are critical for their success. The power of mentors and coaches, the role of the university, the supports that school districts can provide, the need for meaningful professional development, the challenges of school leadership, the critical role of instructional leadership, and the power of trusting relationships are all explored and examined in the context of ensuring the types of support that keep the keys to the school on the keychain of the new principal.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010
Assistant principal, Coach, Mentor, Principal, Support
Educational leadership.
Assistant school principals $x Training of
First year school principals $x Training of
School administrators $x Training of
Career development.
Executive ability.
Mentoring in education.

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