The Female Assistant Principal: Stepping Stone or Stumbling Block to the Secondary School Principalship

by Gregg, Mary Jane

Abstract (Summary)
This research attempted to develop a theory that describes how the position of the secondary female assistant principal is a "stepping stone or stumbling block" to the secondary school principalship. The qualitative research was conducted by interviewing five secondary female present or past principals who had also served as assistant principals. Each participant was interviewed twice and completed a survey listing her duties as both an assistant principal and principal. Using grounded theory, the reseacher began with an area of study and allowed the theory to emerge from the data. By reading field notes and listening to the interviews, she identified and categorized, what was significant and classified and labeled it into patterns. The overall strategy was one of interpretive research with five basic questions that all interviewees were asked. From the analysis the grounded theory that emerged is that female assistant principals must know how to navigate through the organizational socialization of secondary administration in order to successfully become secondary school principals. Touted as a valuable training ground for the role of the principal, the assistant principal's major duty is discipline and supervision with varied time or control to exercise genuine leadership. Briefly stated, this study suggests that female assistant principals at the secondary level are limited in opportunities to be an educational or trnsformative leader; are held to a different standard of performance than male administrators; are hindered by family obligations; are provided minimal training for the major duties of being a principal; view discipline as a time to build relationships with students and parents, including an element of care; need mentors or support persons to open doors in secondary administration; and they have difficulty being true to themselves in a male dominated profession. Taking great pride in obtaining the position of AP, none of the participants expressed a desire to remain in the AP position but believed it was important to have been a classroom teacher for at least ten years before becoming an AP.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Miami University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:female leadership organizational socialization inclusionary hierarchical functional


Date of Publication:01/01/2007

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