Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Studies

First Advisor

William C. Jr. Bosher


Due to the increasing demands on educational administrators it has become essential that leadership priorities be established. This study investigated elementary school principals' job responsibilities and how the school administrator prioritized the many facets of the job. The literature supported the continued escalation of job demands on the school principal. Thus with growing accountability, it is essential that school leaders learn to balance the responsibilities of being the instructional leader and the school manager. A purposeful sample of 25 elementary school principals in central Virginia was used in a qualitative study. Principals from small (0-350), medium (351-750), and large (751-1200) sized schools participated in the research. The data did not support any trends or patterns related to school size and the work of the elementary principal. In addition, the research regarding the fulfillment of the ISLLC Standards (Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium) suggested that localities should correlate their local professional responsibilities and qualities with the national standards in order to help with the use of a common language when discussing principal job qualities and responsibilities. The study also suggested that although instructional leadership was a principalship priority, it was often overshadowed by the school managerial demands. Each participant maintained one-day logs of activities and the results supported the interview responses in the area of instructional leadership. The principals' day included a variety of situations that interrupted the scheduling of classroom observations. Principals shared that they wanted to be more of an instructional leader yet management demands often prevented them from being actively involved in the classroom. Elementary leaders described the frustrations of time management and the desire to have more "human resources" available to assist them with the very demanding job. In addition, school administrators explained various methods used to prioritize the job responsibilities in order to "run the school". This research study explored how principals described their jobs and their leadership with hopes of discovering what might be done to encourage more qualified applicants.


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