Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Courage to Lead: A Reflective Journey of a First-Year Principal in an Urban Elementary School
by Ratliff, Allayna Yvette, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2017, 167; 10641134
Abstract (Summary)

Twenty percent of all first-year principals leave within two years and those in low performing schools are even more likely to leave. It is imperative that school districts across the United States understand the urgency and necessity of developing urban principals—particularly first year urban principals—to lead and manage effective learning organizations through sound leadership practices.

This self-reflective study uses an auto-ethnographic framework in order to understand key leadership lessons as it pertain to being a first-year principal. Using the power of self-reflection and the use of personal narratives, this qualitative study allows readers to gain a critical understanding of the initial development of principals—their challenges, their trials, and ultimately their success. In particular, drawing on the experiences chronicled in my yearlong journal along with archival data, I take the reader on an emotional journey of re-living the joys, triumphs, and challenges of my first year as a principal in a large urban district. Cross-referencing my experiences with empirical data from the literature either affirms or disaffirms that which we know to be true about first year urban principals. My findings center around the need to restore order and structure within schools through sound leadership practices, the cultural challenges that infiltrate schools based on their unique demographics, as well as the need to foster trust and sound relationships amongst families and community stakeholders. This analysis will add to the existing body of literature on educational reform in urban districts by understanding how first year principals lead and manage change.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kuriloff, Peter J.
Commitee: Dawson, Priscilla, McKee, Annie
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Educational and Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 79/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Educational administration, Elementary education
Keywords: Educational leadership, First year principals, Urban principals
Publication Number: 10641134
ISBN: 978-0-355-58870-5
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