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A multiple case study: Principals' involvement in professional development

Jean M Haar, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this multiple case study was to describe how the professional development activities of four South Dakota secondary principals shaped their school culture. The study also explored how the principals' involvement in professional development activities extended to teachers and students. Quantitative and qualitative data collection techniques were used to focus on three areas: (1) the professional development of the principals, (2) the leadership of the principals, and (3) the school culture of the principals' schools. Four principals and twelve teachers were involved in this study. The principals and the teachers were interviewed. The principals also self-assessed their leadership behaviors by completing the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) (Kouzes & Posner, 1995). The findings include the following: (1) The principals are life-long learners who know how to apply the knowledge they have learned. Their learning has extended to their teachers and students. (2) Even though the principals have not been exposed to long-ranged, purposeful professional development activities, they have been involved in professional development activities and have used the professional development opportunities available to them to strengthen their knowledge and skills. (3) The principals know they are leaders and are willing to accept the challenges that accompany being the leader. (4) The principals have as their main focus students and student learning. (5) The principals have a vision of what a school should be and are not afraid to make changes in the interest of what is best for all students. (6) The principals have established an atmosphere conducive to change and improvement. This study has significance for those involved in administration, those involved with administrative preparatory programs, and those involved with administrative professional associations. It presents evidence that shows how professional development for the principals has strengthening leadership skills. It also shows how the leadership of the principals has shaped school culture.

Subject Area

School administration|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Haar, Jean M, "A multiple case study: Principals' involvement in professional development" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3041356.