School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Linda Holcomb


Female Leaders, Assistant Principals, Work-Life Balance, Work/Family Border Theory, Role Theory, Approaches


Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the work-life balance approaches for female assistant principals at Middleburg School District (pseudonym). Two theories were used to answer the central research question: What are the lived experiences of female assistant principals in connection with their role and approach to balance work and life responsibilities? Work/family border theory by Clark (2000) guided the study as it explains how people manage and make decisions on how to spend their time between work and family obligations. Additionally, the role theory by Biddle (1986) expounded on how an individual’s role influences decisions for finding a balance between work and family expectations. A transcendental phenomenology design was used to find work-life balance approaches for 12 female assistant principals. Using a purposeful sampling approach, participants were selected based on the criterion of female assistant principal, mother, and married or living with a significant other. A semi-structured interview, document analysis, and focus group captured the true essence of work-life balance approaches. QSR International NVivo 12 qualitative software was used for data analysis. Four themes emerged during the data analysis from the semi-structured interview and focus group transcriptions and interpretation of the anonymous letters to a first-year assistant principal. The four themes were: creating a balance, practicing eating and self-care, identifying roles and responsibilities, and maintaining an organized system. These themes confirmed that female assistant principals who have children, are married, or living with a significant other struggle balancing professional and personal responsibilities. Participants recommended using the following approaches to minimize imbalances: building relationships, time to unwind from work, managing role conflict, checkpoints, calendars, exercise, managing stress, and self-care.