Retaining Effective Principals: A Case Study of Principals in a High Needs School District

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The purpose of this mixed methods case study was to determine the influence of a district leadership development program on first, second, 3rd and, 4th year principals. A purposeful sample of first, second, 3rd and 4th year principals in a large urban school district in the southwest region of the United States (U.S.) was solicited to provide responses to the Principal Effectiveness Survey to assess the influence cohort support, instructional leadership, human capital, executive leadership, school culture, and strategic operations had on principal effectiveness as school leaders. The survey data was analyzed using frequencies and percentages, while the interview data was analyzed using an inductive coding process. Findings obtained from participant responses to the Principals Effectiveness Survey indicated that overall, principals perceived the activities and experiences related to Cohort Support, Instructional Leadership, Human Capital, Executive Leadership, School Culture and Strategic Operations had “high” influence on their effectiveness as school leaders. Participants had the opportunity to speak openly about district trainings and support through the Aspiring Principals leadership development program (LDP) along with principal cohort experiences influenced their effectiveness and self-efficacy as school leaders. Four overarching themes related to how leadership development influenced principal’s effectiveness emerged from the interview data; which were assigned to four categories, that often overlapped across all seven research questions: (a) program structure (b) self-efficacy, (c) district and peer support, and (d) retention.