School leadership in North Carolina through the eyes of distinguished leaders: a thematic analysis

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

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to interview and observe the principals selected to participate in the inaugural cohort of the North Carolina Distinguished Leadership in Practice (NCDLP) program to understand what leadership practices they applied within their schools that positively impacted teaching and learning. The major research question for this study was, How does a principal's leadership support high quality teaching and learning? From this major research question, five guiding questions emerged to serve as integral components of this study: 1. What do distinguished principals perceive to be the relationship between the principal leadership and student achievement in North Carolina? 2. What are the leadership perspectives and outlooks of NC DLP principals that support high quality teaching and learning in their schools? 3. What are NC DLP principals doing to develop leadership capacity that support high quality teaching and learning in their schools? 4. What competencies within the School Executive Standards do distinguished principals perceive to be the most important in their leadership? 5. What School Executive Standards do distinguished principals perceive to be the most important to improve student achievement? Qualitative data were collected from semi-structured interviews, leadership surveys, and site visit observations with six principals. Member-checking, document analysis, and field observations of principals during regular and staff development days were conducted to collect data on the principals' leadership practice. The focus of both the interviews and site visits centered on descriptive questions which revealed information about the hows and whys of changes in principal leadership behavior following participation in the NC DLP program as well as the impact of the leader's practice on teaching and learning and organizational structures. Key findings revealed that principals are expected to play an active role in leadership, consider the processes, activities, and relationships within their school and use those factors to positively affect teaching and learning (Bottoms & Schmidt-Davis, 2010). Overall, the findings from this study suggest that principals who center their attention on developing the culture of the school and creating synergy of individual skills of teachers, learning relationships among teachers, a relentless focus on instruction, and ongoing mobilization of resources will make significant contributions to teaching and learning in a school.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Distinguished Leadership in Practice, Leadership capacity, Leadership style, NC School Executive Standards, Principalship, Teaching and learning
Educational leadership $z North Carolina $v Case studies
School principals $z North Carolina $v Case studies

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