The woman in the principals' office: a study of young, female principals practicing in the early 21st century

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Whitney W. Oakley (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Ulrich Reitzug

Abstract: According to Portin, Schneider, DeArmond, and Gundlach (2003), "understanding what the school needs and then delivering what is required is the core job of the principal" (p. 9). This research study seeks to tell the story of young female principals practicing in the twenty-first century. Autoethnography served as the primary qualitative approach utilized in the study, with additional focused interviews and document analysis with other young female principals serving as secondary data sources. Structural corroboration including data triangulation and methods triangulation contribute to the trustworthiness of the autoethnographic data. Presentation of findings is reported in a constructed narrative by weaving together data from all corroborated sources. Harry Wolcott's 1973 study examining Ed Bell's work as a middle-aged, male principal served as the foundation for this conceptual framework, borrowing two specific categories from that book: (a) A Day in the Life, and (b) The Annual Cycle of the Principalship. These categories are discussed in the current study, portraying the 2010 reality and drawing comparisons with Wolcott's (1973) descriptions. Key factors impacting the daily work of principals, including the context of the twenty-first century (i.e., educational law and policy, technology, and socio-cultural factors), and individual personal influences, are also presented in an attempt to better understand the daily work of these young, female school leaders. The intent of this study is to benefit educational leaders and preparation programs by providing an alternative lens of the various responsibilities that define the principalship.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
21st Century, Female, Principals, Young
Women school principals $z North Carolina $v Case studies
Women in education $z North Carolina $v Case studies

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