A Case Study of Strategic Leadership and Research in Practice: Principal Preparation Programs that Work – An Educational Administration Perspective of Best Practices for Master's Degree Programs for Principal Preparation

A Case Study of Strategic Leadership and Research in Practice: Principal Preparation Programs that Work – An Educational Administration Perspective of Best Practices for Master's Degree Programs for Principal Preparation

Sidney L. Brown (Lamar University, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1049-9.ch086


This chapter was developed to review the strategies of leadership preparation programs from two different institutions, one a Historically Black College/University (HBCU), and the other a Predominately White University (PWI) to explore the experiences of relationship building among the State Department of Education, the state legislature, local education agencies, school principals, graduate candidates, university faculty, two schools of education, and the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) for the purpose of drawing implications for strengthening the training of school leaders. The focus is on a State Department of Education requirement that all seventeen Principal Preparation Programs re-designed their policies and procedures to meet new state standards of best practices adopted from consultation with the SREB. The final project was a designated SREB award (commendation) winning re-designed principal preparation internship program at the HBCU. The four key themes as descriptors of relationships between the two participating institutions: collaboration (subthemes include role definitions and interdependence), communication (subthemes include mentors' dispositions and power imbalance), creativity (subthemes include systems barriers and candidate placement), and critical thinking (subthemes include faculty qualifications and financial burdens). One critical factor that prevails throughout the literature and practical application is that designing and implementing excellent principal preparation/educational administrator programs is an international priority.
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In 2000, Malone and Caddell stated that the principalship has gone through five evolutionary stages:

  • 1.

    One teacher school house,

  • 2.

    Lead teacher,

  • 3.

    Teaching principal,

  • 4.

    School principal, and

  • 5.

    Supervising principal.

The principalship is currently in its sixth stage, “change agent” (p. 63). For the purpose of this study, the principalship as it has evolved in the last fifteen years will be the focus of this case study.

One of the first sociological studies of the principalship was published in 1975 by Lortie. Lortie recommended that a tridimensional research approach be followed to include the following:

  • 1.

    Field-based practice,

  • 2.

    Professional growth opportunities, and

  • 3.

    Formal academic preparation.

In 1999 Bloom stated, school effectiveness studies conducted during the 1980s brought a new focus upon the importance of instructional leadership. Daresh and Playko (1992) stated many principal preparation programs during this time began to focus on good leadership as being good management.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Instructional Leadership: Education leaders who have the knowledge and ability to improve the quality of instruction and enhance student achievement.

10-Day Residency: When a candidate immerses him/herself in a capstone administrative internship in an authentic school setting.

Administrative Interns: An Administrative Intern performs entry-level technical administrative work under principal-mentor on a full-time basis while pursuing a graduate degree; undergoes training in the techniques used in administrative practice, research, analysis, and reporting; and assists experienced staff analysts and administrators in such fields as open communications, scheduling, financial analysis, organizational analysis, and statistical research.

Principal: The first citizen of a school; the person with the authority or highest position in and organization.

Administrative Internship: Consist of 36 hours required for all students before they can begin the 10-day residency. These internships are directed by the university supervisor, and trained mentor principal in the public school system. The critical components for a candidate’s completion of this process is the university supervisor, and completing internship requirements.

Principal-Mentor: A principal with three-years of successful experience in one school, was willing to serve as an intern mentor, and has passed the mentor training PD activity provided by the coordinating university.

University Supervisor: A full-time university faculty member that is responsible for instruction, supervision, placement, liaisons with p-12 partners, and/or assessment of candidates during the field experience and 10-day residency.

Embedded Field-Experience: Administrative intern candidate, you begin to develop your leadership and teaching, and management techniques during your enroll in a leadership course year when you spend 4 hours OPL in local elementary, middle, high, and/or district level. This field experience allows you to incorporate what you’ve learned on campus into a real school setting. Intern candidates assist in many building level activities, including preparing school improvement plans, observing teaching, and student behavior, evaluating student progress, field trips, and master scheduling. This is a collaborative process with the administrative team, school’s teacher, two other candidates and faculty and staff.

OPL: (Observe, Participate and Lead) these are leadership skills that are rated and documented by the intern which are used to describe the level of immersion in an activity.

Initial Certification: Candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree in education with three years of successful full-time teaching experience and are pursuing admissions to a MED in Instructional Leadership. Admissions into the IL program is competitive and is the initial degree conferred for school administrators.

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