School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Matthew Ozolnieks


assistant principal, induction phase, professional development, transition, transition theory, Schlossberg, 4S Transition Model


Educational Leadership


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to gain a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of individuals who transition into the assistant principal (AP) position for APs in Xander County Public Schools (XCPS). This study aimed to answer: what were the perceptions of individuals as they transitioned to assistant principal? The theory guiding this study was Schlossberg’s transition theory which provided a conceptual framework for creating generalized themes of the participants’ experiences. Studies of building level leadership typically focused on the principal. This study sought to fill the void in the research literature around the assistant principal transition. Schlossberg’s transition theory was used as the conceptual framework for this study in order to align the thematic grouping of ideas to the 4S’s transition model which outlines a person’s ability to cope in the four categories of situation, self, support, and strategies. This qualitative study employed a transcendental phenomenological approach with a sample size of twelve assistant principals from one urban school district located east of the metropolitan city of Atlanta, Georgia. Data were collected through a semi-structured interview, focus group, and annotated picture submission. Qualitative analysis indicated that persons transitioning to the role of assistant principal relied on meaningful past experiences, situational learning, and relationships to cope with their transition phase. Data analysis further indicated that organizational factors such as mentorship and leadership programs all contributed to the persistence of assistant principals in the transition phase.