Perceptions of the Roles and Challenges of High School Principals in a Diverse Mid-size School District in Texas
McWilliams, Rhonda 1958-
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Other than the superintendent and the district’s athletic director, there is no position more visible than the high school principal. Although there is a significant amount of research and information regarding the roles and challenges of principals collectively, there is not as much specific to high school principals. With the role of the high school principal including increased expectations to adhere to all federal, state, and local mandates and requirements, while providing a quality instructional program where student learning occurs daily in a safe and secure environment, a study that focuses specifically on perceptions of high school principals is warranted. As schools face challenges involving urban issues, migrant students, divisions based on race/ethnicity and class, homelessness, drugs, violence, and more, this study will be an important first step in focusing specifically on the perceptions of the roles and challenges of high school principals. The purpose of this study was to explore current perceptions of high school principals regarding their perceived roles, the challenges they face, and their recommendations for professional development for those who aspire to be high school principals. This study was developed as one of qualitative design, exploratory in nature. Qualitative research was used in order to gain a more holistic impression of the perceptions of high school principals of their roles and challenges. The study addresses these questions: 1. What are the perceptions of high school principals regarding their roles as the school principal, and how do these perceptions align with what they actually do daily? 2. What do high school principals perceive are their greatest challenges? 3. What do current high school principals recommend as professional development activities or developmental experiences for aspiring high school principals? For this study, 13 high school principals from a mid-sized school district in Texas participated in an in-depth interview process. Those interviews were transcribed and responses were organized and aligned to the research questions. An analysis was then conducted to determine themes emerging from the interviews with high school principals. Results of the analysis were summarized and conclusions drawn. The study concludes with implications for practice and recommendations for further study.
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