Essays in Education


As educators continue to restructure schools to better meet the needs of our everchanging society, the principal’s effective leadership practices become paramount as we enter the next generation of research into school effectiveness. This study of principals in a large urban school district endeavors to examine the differences in middle and high school teachers’ perceptions of the leadership practices of educational leaders. The sample consisted of 242 participants from 12 middle schools and 404 participants from 14 high schools. Each of the participants were administered Kouzes and Posner’s Leadership Practices Inventory which identified the teachers perceptions of their principal’s leadership practices in each of five dimensions: (a) challenging the process, (b) inspiring a shared vision, (c) enabling others to act, (d) modeling the way, and (e) encouraging the heart. Middle and high school teachers reported very similar perceptions of their principals’ leadership practices. Additional analysis indicates that both middle and high school principals most often exhibited the practices of “enabling others to act” and “modeling the way” and least often demonstrated the behavior of “encouraging the heart.”

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