Ryan AshleyFollow




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Russell Claxton


School Principals, High Divorce Rate, Causes


Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Other Education


The divorce rate in the United States is climbing among professionals. One of the highest of these rates is among educational leaders; it is commonly the perception that a tremendous amount of time and energy must be spent in the school in order for the school to be successful. This means educational leaders must spend large amounts of time away from their significant others as well as their children in order to maintain this status quo. The purpose of this phenomenological study is to discover common characteristics that contribute to school principals having and maintaining a relationship with a significant other while also providing effective leadership to the school. Nine school principals ranging from elementary, middle, and high school were selected for this study. The criteria used to select the principals was that they each must have had two school-age children during their time as principal, and the principal had to have at least three years of experience as head principal. Data were collected using triangulation through the three categories of interviews with principals, spousal questionnaires, and document analysis to include a principal’s job description and work schedule. Data were further analyzed by the journaling of experiences and phenomenological reductionism, also known as bracketing. The findings of this study provided several themes of how principals prioritize both their professional and personal life simultaneously. These themes are as follows: (a) be intentional about dating your spouse, (b) be intentional about keeping a healthy relationship with your kids, (c) even though it is your responsibility, delegate tasks, (d) develop trust between your spouse and children and between you and your leadership team, (e) involve your spouse and children in everything, if you can, and (f) take the extra time needed to develop the relationship.