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Published in Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, Volume 15, Number 2, 2011, pages 95-128.


Principals are often required to operate educational programs under a growing number of federal and state mandates for which they have limited knowledge and available recourses. This paper presents the results of a survey of 102 principals from 52 elementary schools, 25 middle schools, and 25 high schools within the state of Virginia. The survey instrument was administered during the 2008 school year and contained 25 professional development statements that previous research indicated were necessary for practicing principals. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of Virginia public school principals concerning their desirability for professional development training in order to meet current accountability measures. The results were analyzed by the following demographic characteristics: principal experience level, level of school (elementary, middle, or high school), the percentage of minority children, children with IEPs, children with limited English proficiency, and children in poverty; Title 1 status; and AYP accreditation. These results have implications for public school systems to determine principal needs and provide the necessary training to meet current mandates. Additionally, this information would allow advocacy and outreach professional organizations for school principals to design workshops that focus their efforts on the most needed professional development areas.

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