Date of Award

12-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Theresa L. Pulos

Second Supervisor

C. Michael Robinson

Abstract

This study sought to understand, through their lived experiences, teachers’ perceptions of school principals’ personal support and professional support and what influence, if any, it had on the teachers’ level of commitment to their schools. Teacher consistency and proficiency contribute to an increase in student achievement; however, 50% of educators in the United States leave the profession within their first five years of employment. The literature lacks specificity with regard to teachers’ perception of support from their school principal. This study explored the following research questions: (a) How do teachers describe school principal personal support and professional support? (b) How do teachers describe the influence of school principal behaviors on their own level of commitment? and (c) How do teachers describe their professional working relationship with their school principal? This qualitative study included 143 Grade K-12 teacher participants who completed the Teacher Perception Questionnaire. Participants described a supportive principal as one that leads by example, promotes collaboration, cultivates leadership in others, demonstrates compassion, demonstrates commitment to school, has an all-hands-on-deck attitude, and builds on teachers’ strengths. Teachers in the urban schools described a low teacher-principal exchange while participants from suburban and rural schools described a high rate of exchange. This study recommends administering the TPQ to charter, parochial, private schools, and/or other non-traditional schools. Further, this study proposes the need to redefine the qualifications for mentorships and proposes a review of the effect and implementation of federal, state, and district policies that inadvertently cause teacher and school principal turnover.

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