School leadership makes a difference in educational outcomes. The assistant principalship is often the entry-point position for a principal at the secondary level. The consensus of researchers is that principal preparation programs are too theoretical and unrelated to the daily demands put upon contemporary principals and that university school administration preparation programs need to incorporate more hands-on activities and mentoring opportunities. Notably, there is a need to continually develop assistant principals to provide effective leadership at the secondary level.
This study examined assistant principals' perceptions of mentoring to develop the skills necessary to be strong school leaders. A two-phased, sequential, explanatory mixed-method design was used for the study. The study used a Web-based, researcher-developed questionnaire, Mentoring of Assistant Principals Survey, completed by 115 assistant principals who currently serve in middle or high schools in two counties located in Southern California and semi-structured interviews conducted with a stratified sample of ten volunteer participants. The questionnaire contained 40 items answered on a 5-point Likert-scale in regard to perceived levels of mentoring received in seven research-based skill areas: (a) professional development, (b) student discipline, (c) classroom instruction, (d) content standards, (e) working with parents and community, (f) working with staff, and (g) dynamics and politics of district issues.
Responses were analyzed using frequencies, percentages, factor analysis, reliability estimates, Cronbach's alpha, Spearman's rho correlation coefficients, t tests, and regression analysis. Mentoring of assistant principals was found to be valuable with the most common form of mentoring, informal, provided by a mentor who was self-selected by the assistant principal. The mentor title found to be highly significant in determining higher ratings of mentoring in the specific skill areas was a site-level principal, followed by assistant principal/colleague. The notion of peer mentoring emerged as a significant and new concept in the area of school leadership development. This study provides a rationale for allocation of time, talent, and resources to support ongoing growth of school leaders and the notion of "paying it forward" through mentoring new school administrators.
|School:||California State University, Fullerton|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/11, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, School administration|
|Keywords:||Assistant principal, Leadership, Mentoring, Mixed-methods, Regression analysis, Web-based questionnaire|
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