Publication Date

Fall 2019

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Marguerita DeSander (Director), Stacy Leggett, Thomas Stewart, and Lester Archer

Degree Program

Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


School Leadership has evolved over the years requiring school administrators to perform as both a facilities manager and transformational leader inspiring teachers to take risks and utilize innovative strategies to increase student achievement. This increased focus on educational leaders has created a challenge for colleges and universities to effectively develop programming to properly equip students to become educational leaders that schools desperately need, as illustrated by a review of the literature. New leadership standards, coupled with Kentucky’s new star-rating system increases the expectations of school leaders as they work with diverse populations of students.

This study is a qualitative case study exploring how novice administrators, who recently graduated, felt their university principal preparation program prepared them for the rigors associated with school leadership. The researcher reviewed demographic data from participants’ schools via the state’s School Report Card site along with TELL Kentucky Survey data to develop a picture of leadership from the participants’ student results and staff reviews. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with each administrator to gain insight into how they felt their university’s principal preparation program prepared them to lead schools when measured against the National Educational Leadership Preparation Standards.

Through cross-case analysis, the researcher identified critical attributes that college and university principal preparation programming must contain to equip students for the rigors of educational leadership. The research identified cohorts, quality of faculty, program structure, practical experience, internships, and communication strategies as critical to effectively developing the skills needed to lead a school in today’s critical environment. The findings of this research correspond to the findings listed in the literature review and provides information to guide other institutes of higher learning as they conduct program reviews on their principal preparation programming.


Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Higher Education | Higher Education and Teaching