School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Jonathan Matthew Bracewell


education, leadership, mentor


Educational Leadership


The purpose of this phenomenological study is to explore the shared experiences of novice school principals’ mentor training and to gain an understanding of the experience of peer educators. This dissertation employed a qualitative case study methodology to interview Arizona principals with less than three years of experience who did not receive district-provided, formal mentorship training during their first years as principals to determine their experiences and support needs. I assessed the current literature on inexperienced principal mentorship programs in the United States via the lens of Kram’s Mentoring Model and then linked this literature to the principals’ reported concerns. In this study, I made conclusions about the practice of Arizona school principals and the potential development of formal mentorship programs at the district level using interview data. I investigated the challenges faced by inexperienced principals in Arizona, as well as the suggested inputs, processes, outputs, and potential outcomes if the proposed program were implemented. Using the principal participants as improvement partners, a program theory coaching model was created to facilitate the transition and success of new Arizona principals. The study identifies the perceived value of principal mentorship and many of the challenges associated with the current mentoring models in Arizona. The study concludes with suggestions for a wide range of stakeholders, including state education authorities, school directors, district executives, human resources, career development executives, district executives, and a select group of principal advisors.