THE EFFECTS OF PRINCIPAL LEADERSHIP ON TEACHER MORALE AND STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
Hindt, Lawrence A. 1964-
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Teachers comprise the greatest professional population of a school; they have the most contact with students; and they have perhaps the greatest influence on school climate. For this reason, teacher morale is a topic of great concern to public school administrators. Moreover, research suggests that poor teacher morale negatively affects student performance just as high teacher morale positively affects student performance. Research also indicates that teacher morale is influenced more by the leadership style of the principal than any other single factor. This study was designed to determine whether certain relationships exist between teacher morale and the following independent variables: (1) principal trust and (2) leadership satisfaction. Additionally, investigations were conducted to determine whether the aforementioned independent variables lead to increased student achievement. Information regarding teacher morale was collected from 65 teachers using the 2009 MDed – Multi Dimensional Education Incorporated (MDed) Survey at three 7-8 Initiative schools in a large suburban district in southeast Texas. It was the intent of this study to determine whether principal leadership and teacher morale are significantly correlated. The study also demonstrated whether or not teachers’ and principals’ perceptions of leadership behaviors contribute to student achievement. vi After analyzing the data, it was found that principal leadership behaviors do significantly impact teacher morale, and student achievement. Additionally, it was found that positive teacher morale and student achievement in the Initiative Schools influenced positive student behaviors, ultimately reducing student discipline referrals. Multiple interventions were put into place that led to the positive outcomes. The interventions, new principal leadership, ongoing intensive staff development, establishment of small learning communities, reduction of student population and low student to teacher class ratios, were the catalysts that lead to the Initiative Schools’ transformational success, a transformation of high teacher morale, increased student achievement, and positive student behaviors.