Assistant Principals’ Perceptions Regarding the Role and the Effectiveness of an Educational Leadership Program

Gary B. Peters, D. Keith Gurley, Matthew Fifolt, Loucrecia Collins, Rose McNeese


In this study, faculty members of an educational leadership program, situated in a large urban university in the southeastern region of the United States, utilized focus group research to determine the perceptions of K-12 assistant principals regarding the effectiveness of an educational leadership program, and to provide recommendations for program leaders for program improvement to increase job preparedness for emerging school leaders. This qualitative study included collecting, transcribing, and analyzing data from two focus group interviews. The nine study participants had all graduated from an educational leadership program at the focus institution and were actively serving as assistant principals in the university service area. Researchers determined common themes and patterns from the data. Findings indicated that, while respondents felt generally well prepared by their university leadership program, they also identified challenges faced by assistant principals today as complex and consequential in nature. Respondents spoke of responsibilities beyond the realm of traditional program preparation that required the acquisition of skills learned through real life applications. The formal acquisition of knowledge that was theoretical, practical, and methodological was not minimized, but rather placed in cultural context, providing insight and implications for the leadership preparation program improvement.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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