School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Gail Collins


Assistant Principal, Assistant Principal Leadership, School Leadership, Assistant Principal Roles, Assistant Principal Responsibilities


Education | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to understand assistant principals’ (APs) leadership and perceptions of their roles. The study took place in a suburban school system located in the southeastern United States. The central research question asked, “How do assistant principals lead and perceive their role as APs?” The theory guiding this research was situational leadership theory as it demonstrated how leadership styles must be related to the needs of the constituents. Ambiguity and burnout were examined as factors that can impact APs’ leadership and their perceptions of leadership. The data for this case study were collected through interviews, focus groups, and documents. Data analysis was based upon coding and memoing to ascertain common patterns and themes that emerged during data analysis. The study reflected that a significant gap in AP research exists. The findings indicated that APs are essential leaders within schools. APs’ leadership is based upon the needs of the those whom they lead, and they build relationships to ascertain and support these needs. Additionally, APs benefit from working collaboratively with APs in small groups and with mentors.