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Elementary Teachers' Perceptions of Effective School Leadership

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TITLE: Elementary Teachers' Perceptions of Effective School Leadership
RESEARCHER: Deborah Belew-Nyquist
College of Education
Northern Arizona University
Doctoral Dissertation: December 1997

To examine teachers' perceptions of effective school leaders and leadership.

Data was gathered from elementary teachers from the Bremerton School District, 100-C, in Bremerton, Washington. Respondents to the survey instrument were 162 elementary teachers (95% response rate). They completed the Leadership Practices Inventory, modified to reflect the “importance of each statement to an effective elementary school principal.” They also completed the Characteristics of Admired Leaders, developed by Kouzes and Posner (1993), and provided demographic information. The surveys were administered to teachers during faculty meetings at each elementary school.

The most frequently mentioned characteristic important in an elementary school principal was supportive (80%), followed by honest (54%), competent (53%), caring (50%), and dependable (40%). The rank order, in terms of importance for being an effective school principal, of leadership practices was Enabling, Encouraging, Inspiring, Modeling, and Challenging (although the mean score difference between top and bottom was only .42). As a result of the focus group interviews, the author concludes: “teachers indicated they believed all five leadership practices identified by Kouzes and Posner were important to effective leaders.”


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