Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Traits Possessed by Principals Who Transform School Culture in National Blue Ribbon Schools

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Traits Possessed by Principals Who Transform School Culture in National Blue Ribbon Schools

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to identify common personal and professional strategies present in successful principals who lead National Blue Ribbon Schools in a southern state. This study attempted to reveal concrete strategies and traits that can be implemented and emulated by current and aspiring school administrators offering them insight into what strategies are conducive to effective school leadership. The study also sought to determine whether a correlation existed between the leadership practices of these national blue ribbon school administrators and the overall culture of the school as measured by the level of teacher morale present in these schools. The Leadership Practices Inventoiy (LPI) was administered in order to identify those leadership traits and qualities as reported by the leaders ' subordinates as compared to how the leader rated him or herself on the these qualities. Approximately 500 teachers/counselors and 20 principals/assistant principals participated in the study. A non- random sampling of seven National Blue Ribbon Schools from the elementary, middle, and high school level in this southern state participated in the study.

Administrators rated their primary leadership traits by using the Leadership Practices Inventory (self). Each administrator rated their primary leadership traits using a Likert scale employed by the Leadership Practices Inventory. Data obtained from the study suggested that principals rated themselves slightly higher than did their staff members according to the five subscales (model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encouraging the heart) of the LPI. The Purdue Teacher Opinionaire (PTO) was also administered to rate teacher morale in these National Blue Ribbon Schools. The abbreviated version of the inventoiy was used consisting of three sub-scales; teacher rapport with the principal, rapport among teachers, and instructional issues. The PTO is based on a four point Likert type scale; I = disagree, 2 = probably disagree, 3 = probably agree, and 4 = agree.

Respondents who completed the PTO rated teacher rapport with principal 3.36, rapport among teachers 3.46, and instructional issues 3.48. These results on the PTO indicate that teacher morale was reported to be very high on each of the selected indicators. A multiple regression was then run to determine whether a correlation existed between teacher morale and principal leadership traits. The results of this test indicated that there was a correlation between teacher morale and a principal modeling the way, inspiring a shared vision, challenging the process, enabling others to act, and encouraging the heart.

INTRODUCTION

The ability of a principal to lead the students of the new millennia is based on his or her ability to set goals of excellence for teachers, students, staff and themselves. The principal must be the catalyst for enhancing and transforming the culture of the school in a positive and progressive manner thereby improving student learning. The purpose of this study was to identify common personal and professional qualities as well as strategies of a successful principals who lead National Blue Ribbon Schools in a Southern State. Data from this study may be used to inform administrators and aspiring administrators of common qualities and characteristics present in highly effective principals. The principal sets the tone and creates the culture for which teaching and learning takes place. If the principal is thoroughly analyzing, implementing, and evaluating the academic and social culture of his or her school they become better positioned to positively impact student achievement.

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

Transformational Leadership

Bums (2003) contends that leaders in conjunction with the individuals that follow them create a symbiotic relationship that produces positive and significant heights of institutional morale and motivation. …

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