Assistant Principals perceptions: knowledge, skills, and attributes for effective leadership
Research by Fields (2002) concerning professional development and new administrators found that the role of assistant principal is one of the least researched and discussed topics in professional journals and books on educational leadership. The purpose of this study is to describe and examine the perceptions of assistant principals regarding the knowledge, skills, and attributes needed to be an effective leader. The results of this study will add to the knowledge base of the assistant principal and provide useful information to improve the position of the assistant principal. Recent research indicates that the assistant principal position does not provide the appropriate training or preparation for assistant principals to become principals (Fields, 2002; Goodson, 2000; Mertz, 2000 The current study is a section of a larger multi-phase study called the Principal as a Successful Leader Project (Waxman, 2008) that examined the results from interviewed surveys completed by 383 practicing Assistant Principals from a large metropolitan area in the Gulf Coast region. The survey instrument included three main sections. Section 1 included 22 items for administrators’ background information and school demographics, section 2 includes 62 Likert-scale items, and section 3 consists of 31 open-ended questions. The cognitive interview technique was used in section 3, and this study focuses on the responses of participants to three of the questions in section 3. .Descriptive statistics will be reported for all variables. A factor analysis will be used to determine predominant factors on the survey. General Linear Model of Univariate analysis of variance will be used to determine if there are statistically significant differences on the survey items by assistant principal years of experience, gender, and school rating. The findings revealed that the characteristics are measured by two constructs; interpersonal and job related skills with a significant difference between males and females assistant principals and their perceived knowledge, skills, and attributes needed for effective leadership. This study will be useful in making recommendations to existing and future Assistant Principals and improving professional development and preparation programs for Assistant Principals both at the district and university level.