Principals' early career instructional leadership experiences in rural schools
I reported on findings from a phenomenological study intended to investigate the leadership experiences of 12 novice, rural public school principals in a Midwestern state. I utilized data from semi-structured interviews to analyze how novice, rural principals engaged in instructional leadership activities in a rural setting. I also focused on how new principals managed the challenges of leadership as they transitioned into their new positions in a rural setting. Framed by sensemaking, I situated the analysis within existing research on instructional leadership, particularly the context of principals’ work and how they thought about and prioritized instructional leadership goals. My findings indicated that novice, rural principals wear multiple hats while juggling all that expected of a building principal. Although the principals spoke eloquently about their understanding of their role as an instructional leader, their day-to-day experiences are met with demands and expectations peripheral to instructional leadership.
Keywords: Instructional leadership, novice principals, rural school, principal development.