Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version


Document Type



Poloncic, Melissa J. (2016) Principals matter: Perceptions of principals on school leadership (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Nebraska- Lincoln.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The University of Nebraska at Lincoln In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Education, Specialization: Educational Administration, Under the Supervision of Professor Jody Isernhagen. Lincoln, Nebraska: March 2016

Copyright © 2016 Melissa Poloncic


Leadership has long been studied in education. The correlation between effective schools and quality leadership has been linked in research. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of secondary school principals in leadership. Using a phenomenological approach, school principals were asked in an interview to describe the essence of effective leadership through their experiences as a secondary school principal based on their self-perceptions and needs in continuous learning as a leader. Authentic insight from the perspectives of secondary principals defined experiences that influenced them most, the essential elements of effective leaders, and the perceived needs of secondary school principals in continuously developing as a leader.

Advisor: Jody Isernhagen