The Transformation of Principals to Change Agents

The Transformation of Principals to Change Agents

Author: 
Mary Holland Russell
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
The need for school principals to possess necessary competencies to guide teachers in preparing students for a 21st century world was the basis for this research study. The purpose of this descriptive qualitative multiple case study was to examine professional development opportunities of local school districts for preparing principals to lead and manage the change outlined in the NC School Executive Standards. A descriptive framework to analyze the problem was used. Purposive sampling was applied to select, from five school districts, seven district-level personnel that served in the role of professional development providers for principals. Semi-structured interviews, professional development documents, and the NC School Executive Standards served as data sources. NVivo 10 was used for data analysis. Several themes were discovered a) inclusion of competencies in the content of the NC School Executive Standards for leading and managing change, b) inclusion of aspects of the competencies in district level professional development offerings, and c) challenges to providing effective professional development. Gaps in competencies were found between the content of the NC Executive Standards and the professional development offerings for principals. An implication for leaders to consider based on this study was a need for an alignment of the competencies outlined in the NC Executive Standards with the competencies targeted in the professional development offered to principals. Recommendation was to provide the necessary resources to develop effective professional development based on an alignment that would reduce the competency gap was suggested for district and state level leaders
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated to many who have supported me during life’s endeavors with a special dedication to my mother and father, Louise and Mazlee Holland, for teaching me that family is the most important thing we have, life lessons that taught me all I needed to know for living in such a diverse world, and making education a nonnegotiable. I know that even though you have departed this life, you are aware of this accomplishment. Love you, Mom and Dad.
Acknowledgements: 
First, thanks to God for providing the strength, perseverance, and wisdom I needed on this journey. To my husband, who over the course of this journey stood my shadow and supported me throughout the process. During the journey, he more than anyone adjusted to the time and the commitment the dissertation process demands. Thank-you, Cedric. Much thanks to my daughter, Tamisha, who has always believed in me and constantly throughout the process reminded me that it was my time to accomplish my desires and dreams. Your encouragement and belief in me provided the incentive needed the nights when completing an assignment was more important than sleep. To two handsome grandsons, who did not always understand why Grammie had to spend the weekends during homework and wanted me to tell the teacher not to give homework on the weekends. Thank-you Sunshine boys for your patience and being the permission I needed to take a break. You were and are my inspiration. To Peanut and Angie, two of my sisters, thanks for keeping me on track by asking, “When are you going to finish the dissertation?” Ladies, the dissertation is finished. To the many friends who traveled this journey with me and paved the way with words of encouragement and support, it truly took a village. Thank you for choosing to be a part of this experience. Finally, I would like to express with the utmost sincerity and humbleness my gratitude to Dr. Deering, my mentor, for being here for me throughout the process and offering words of encouragement during the times most needed. To Dr. Kitchen and Dr. Hardy, my committee members, thank you for the support, guidance and feedback that resulted in this dissertation, one of the biggest accomplishments of my life.