Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Stacy Leggett, Marguerita DeSander, Kimberlee Everson

Degree Program

Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


School leadership is a vital aspect of K-12 public education. As graduates exit university principal preparation programs, they possess certification indicating preparedness for the role of a school administrator. Upon being hired, new school administrators frequently find themselves theoretically prepared but, in reality, unready for the myriad of responsibilities, isolation, and accountability accompanying the title. Over the years, the role of the school administrator has become overwhelming, often hindering the effectiveness of those doing the job, especially those new to the profession. The gap between the preparedness and readiness of new school administrators is a critical issue to be addressed as effective school leadership affects student achievement, teacher retention, and overall school success.

The preparedness-readiness gap project incorporated the improvement science framework, the PDSA iterative model, and mixed-methods research to implement and analyze the effectiveness of an Administrator Support Network in improving the understanding and readiness of the new school administrators. The 16-month project included two cycles of interventions conducted to support new school administrators in increasing (1) their understanding of the professional standards for the role and (2) their readiness to lead and manage responsibilities during their first years of service.

Intervention 1 established an induction program surrounding the cohort of new school administrators with a network of support led by district and educational experts. The Administrator Support Network met monthly to learn and grow together. Intervention 2 maintained the Administrator Support Network model; however, the large cohort separated into grade-level specific cohorts (elementary and secondary). Additionally, the timeframe changed from two-hour sessions to one-hour sessions at least twice monthly. These revisions allowed the new school administrators to address specific needs, and the time change addressed the everpresent challenge of time demands.

The results from both cycles of intervention indicated cohorts and networks supporting new school administrators, in this context, were effective in increasing understanding and readiness to lead during the first years of service. The research demonstrated new school administrators, in this context, valued collaboration, idea sharing, collegiality, and district support provided by the Administrator Support Network.


Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership | Higher Education