Problems faced by beginning principals

Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Administration and Supervision

First Advisor's Name

Peter J. Cistone

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Edward Reichbach

Third Advisor's Name

Sarah W.J. Pell

Fourth Advisor's Name

Lorraine Gay

Date of Defense



The job of a principal is becoming more demanding and more critical each year. Principals are asked to undertake huge challenges and to succeed regardless of what obstacles lie ahead. The purpose of this study was to identify which Administrative Task Areas and Specific Task Areas caused the most difficulties for first- and second-year principals.

A survey was taken of first- and second-year principals in Dade County, Florida. These beginning principals rated their level of proficiency for each administrative task area and each specific task within those areas. Participants rated their perceptions on a scale from one to four. The data were analyzed based on frequency distributions, percentages, means, and standard deviations.

Beginning principals perceived themselves as least proficient in the administrative task areas of management and personnel duties. They believed their strongest areas were curriculum and instruction and school-community relations. Within these areas, the specific administrative task areas identified as most problematic were identifying proper procedures for construction in the schools, visiting classrooms to help teachers improve instruction, awareness of issues related to school law, establishing accounting procedures for the school’s internal funds, and procedures for dismissing incompetent staff members.

Many beginning principals surveyed volunteered to make recommendations for future beginning principals. Of these recommendations, the most popular responses addressed obtaining more experience with the budget and internal funds prior to becoming a principal. In addition, there was a strong need for more training dealing with school personnel and the importance of networking with a veteran principal.

The principal training programs for five of the largest school districts in Florida were reviewed. These programs were found to incorporate a vast amount of the recommendations included in the literature. Florida is moving in the right direction toward excellence in the public schools.



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