Entry to Leadership
This case study examined the demands that a first year principal in a school in Corrective Action faces and explored what are the key factors for creating a successful entry from the teachers' perspectives. The study further identified what a first year principal's immediate priorities should be when entering the job and examined potential pitfalls. This qualitative case study was conducted by the principal, who was a participant-observer. Data collection included the use of the on-line SurveyMonkey.com service, the researcher's reflective journal entries and field notes, as well as a review of pertinent documents. Findings were many, and illuminated many insights for beginning principals, including the importance of taking the time to learn about the existing culture before attempting to change it, as well as cultivating relationships and carefully laying the groundwork for change. Implications for practice included more specific recommendations, such as spending the summer months reading teacher files, comparing and compiling data on student performance, and being knowledgeable of all the school's initiatives for improving achievement before school officially begins. Limitation of this study included the researcher's role as principal and participant-observer, a small sample size, and the relatively short time frame within which the study was conducted. Recommendations for future study included studying the perspectives of other key constituents, such as students, parents, and other community members, broadening the scope of the study to include other middle schools in Corrective Action, and conducting a longitudinal study that would document the professional socialization of a first year principal during the three-year period following her appointment.