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Beginning the principalship: From survival to visionary leadership

Gene Armstrong, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The intent of this two-phase qualitative case study was to describe the stories of beginning principals in their efforts to transition from management to visionary leadership. Many studies have focused on the transition experiences of beginning teachers, but limited studies focused specifically on the transition experiences of beginning principals. Data were collected from eleven beginning principals toward the end of their first year in the position. The purpose of this phase of the study was to discover if there were common paths of transition from management to visionary leadership as described by the principals. Themes ranged from issues of management expressed by all beginning principals to evidence of visionary leadership expressed by only a few. ^ The second phase of the two-phase study involved two principals purposefully selected from the original eleven principals. They were selected because of the distinct differences in the size of their schools and the diverse nature of the responsibilities associated with their positions. The purpose of the second phase of the study was to follow the two selected principals as they developed professionally towards a goal of visionary leadership. A divergence in the professional development of the two selected principals surfaced as the study concluded. One principal clearly demonstrated an understanding of visionary leadership while the other concentrated on management issues and demonstrated a limited understanding of visionary leadership. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration

Recommended Citation

Armstrong, Gene, "Beginning the principalship: From survival to visionary leadership" (2000). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9967356.