Faculty Publications and Presentations

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Education | Educational Leadership


This article was published in Educational Leadership and Administration 2016, Vol. 27 145-162. Permission has been granted by NCPEA Publications (http://www.ncpeapublications.org) to upload this contribution to Liberty University’s scholarly repository. All Rights Secured. No copy of this file may be sold or reprinted in whole or in part. To purchase the entire journal issue that contains this contribution, please visit the website of the publication.


Challenges for novice school leaders evolve as information is managed differently and as societal and regulatory expectations change. This study addresses unique challenges faced by practicing school administrators (n=159) during their first three years in a school leadership position. It focuses on their perceptions, how perceptions of present novices compare to those of experienced school leaders, and how pre-service programs can better prepare them for these challenges. Findings showed that perceptions of present novice school leaders vary somewhat from those of experienced school leaders. Two themes shared relatively the same prominence among experienced leaders as they did with novices: navigating politics and gaining a sense of credibility. Experienced leaders expounded more on specific political hurdles with school boards, other teachers, and parents, and—regarding these same populations—experienced leaders voiced that they wished they had been more successful in their earlier years in developing credibility more quickly with stakeholders. A theme not occurring at all among present novices but noted by five experienced leaders was that of adjusting to the culture of a new school as its leader. This phenomenon may be explained by the value more seasoned leaders have developed for factors inherent in a campus culture.