Date Awarded

Summer 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Megan Tschannen-Moran

Committee Member

Margaret Constantino

Committee Member

Gene Roche


With the challenges facing principals today, the question of how best to support new principals in meeting these challenges remains. The leadership abilities of new school leaders matter more today than ever with increasing accountability and additional responsibilities. The focus of this study was to determine participants’ perceptions of the impact of mentoring on the development on first and second-year principals in a suburban school district located in a fast growing metropolitan area within the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The overarching question of the study was: What impact does mentoring have on first and second-year principal performance? Secondary questions that were explored in the study were: (a) What do principals who participate in mentoring report they learned based on their reflective activities and dialogue with experienced leaders? (b) What changes in professional practice of first and second-year principals did participants perceive to have come from the mentoring? and (c) What activities within the mentoring program did participants find most helpful for first and second-year principal leadership? The methodology employed to conduct this action research study was a qualitative process focusing on the development and implementation of a newly formed principal mentoring support structure. The study included the following data sources: an Appreciative Inquiry focus session with principal mentors, a district leadership development survey and face-to-face semi-structured interviews with 23 principals. Findings of the study were as follows: (a) New principals in this study valued the support of an experienced principal mentor and the participation in joint leadership development activities to assist them in navigating the complexities of being a new principal. (b) The quality of the mentor relationship is important. (c) For the principals in this study, formalizing the mentoring program by building time for mentoring into the calendar at the district level and providing supports such as the mentoring calendar and joint new principal/principal mentor leadership workshops were valued and seen as a positive district change. (d) The mentoring program could be improved by differentiating the program by the individual needs of each new principal.



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