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Leadership Skills, Practices, and Behaviors of Effective Principals in Effective Schools

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TITLE: Leadership Skills, Practices, and Behaviors of Effective Principals in Effective Schools
RESEARCHER: Lois Mae Koster-Peterson
Northern Arizona University
Doctoral Dissertation: August 1993

To analyze the role of the principal in effecting educational outcomes in an unusually effective school; i.e., what are the characteristics and behaviors of principals of exemplary schools.

The sample included six (out of seven) schools in San Diego Country recognized by the State of California Secondary School Recognition Program (1991-1992). Principals and their staff (vice principals, certificate and non-certificate staff) completed the LPI and the National Association of Secondary School Principal Assessment survey (98% response rate). Interviews and field site visits were also conducted. The typical principal was a man (83%), 49 years old, with 22 years of experience in education, with 4.6 years in his current school, and a master's degree.

LPI scores did not differ among the four respondent groups. The same was true for the NASSP Assessment survey. What operationalizes leadership in the exemplary schools were: "(1) Core values that shape the direction and form the school's goals and objectives; (2) A vision that is focused, clarified, and articulated among all groups; (3) Involvement of people who share in the process of improvement, which infuses the belief system; (4) School improvement as a continuous process; and (5) Establishment of mutual trust, love, warmth, and respect within the environment between all people" (89).


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