The Impact of Leadership Transitions on School Change
Noble, Anna. “The Impact of Leadership Transitions on School Change”, Boston College, 2022. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:109471.
In a time of increasing accountability, school leaders are besieged with challenges to improve student performance (Cosner & Jones, 2016; Day et al., 2016), build teacher capacity (Beteille et al., 2012; Miller, 2013), and develop a coherent school vision (Finnigan & Stewart, 2009; Hitt & Tucker, 2016) to better meet the needs of increasingly diverse student populations. Unsurprisingly, the stress of these and other challenges has led to a marked increase in principal turnover in recent decades (Snodgrass Rangel, 2018). These conditions necessitate an understanding of how schools navigate transitions in leadership and the impact changes in leadership can have on a school’s ability to meet ever evolving challenges. Analyzing data from a seven-year study using a comparative case study approach (Bartlett & Vavrus, 2017), this paper considers the experiences of three different schools as a single Catholic school principal transitions between the school sites. Drawing on complexity thinking (Goldstein et al., 2011; Lichtenstein & Plowman, 2009), this study explores the extent to which the principal was able to impact each school’s readiness for change through the interconnected processes of distributing authority, creating a common school vision, and fostering trust.