Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




F. Douglas Prillaman


This case study was concerned with examining the role of principals supervising programs for students with disabilities in effective schools as defined by the Virginia Department of Education's Outcome Accountability Project (OAP). In order to do this, three questions were framed, and after reviewing the literature, a research design was developed allowing data relative to the study questions to be collected. Multiple data sources were used in this investigation.;From the data collected in this study, three major conclusions may be drawn. The first finding is that the role of the principal in a school with an effective special education program, defined by the Outcome Accountability Project (OAP) indicators, differs from the role of a principal in a school with a lower OAP rating. Differences were found in practices that addressed behaviors in the following performance areas: communication, staff development, systematic evaluation of instruction, collaboration, and instructional programming.;The second conclusion is that interaction between the special education administrator and principal of an effective OAP defined school does differ from that of a special education administrator and principal in a school with less effective OAP ratings. Interviews with principals and special education administrators and results from responsibility charts delineated best practices for principals of effective OAP schools.;The third major finding identified the lack of time, lack of knowledge of special programs/curriculum and lack of central office assistance as the three main obstacles that impede the instructional effectiveness of principals. Supporting documentation from the interviews indicated the effects of these obstacles.



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