School leadership: implementation of effective leadership practices by four successful high school principals




Mathis, Donald Everett

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This study moves beyond the discussion of the esoteric description of the characteristics, traits, skills, and strategies of effective principals who lead successful schools--found in the professional literature--to the practical and then reports what these principals do to actually affect their leadership of their respective schools. Through the use of multiple case-study research, this study looks at what the principals in four high schools--two in Texas and two in Montana--actually do in their day-to-day leadership practice. After a careful examination of the professional literature that identifies the school leadership characteristics, traits, skills, and strategies common to successful principals, the study moves to the practical aspects of school leadership: What high school principals actually do in their day-to-day activities to lead effective high schools with academically successful students. A framework is developed based on the research of Day, et al., (2010) and is used to analyze and interpret data that reveals that these effective principals also share many of the same actions taken to lead their campuses to be effective and to foster the academic success of their students. The study concludes with an appeal to consider the creation of a "clearinghouse" to consolidate the research on the "best practices" of school principals that focuses on the practical aspects: What school leaders actually do. Qualitative research that focuses on the "how's" and "whys" of effective school leaders is paramount in order to provide "real world" insight to aspiring school leaders.


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high school principals, practical leadership, principal practices, school leadership



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies