Thesis

Principal styles of leadership in high-performing at-risk schools

The purpose of this study was to identify principal styles of leadership in highperforming "at-risk" schools. This study intends to show a connection between principal leadership, teacher empowerment and student achievement. This study provides an overview of literature on the characteristics of high performing schools, principal styles ofleadership, teacher involvement in the decision making process of the management of curriculum instruction, teacher locus of control and school climate. By completing a principal interview protocol and a teacher survey protocol with three different schools, several conclusions regarding the Participative Style of Leadership used by principals and how it directly relates to teacher empowerment and collaborative decision making surfaced as a result of the study. The findings in this study showed an important correlation between the principal style of leadership and teacher empowerment. It showed that a key component of high-performing schools is to have teacher leaders working collaboratively with each other as well as with the administration on decision making related to curriculum and instruction. In high-performing schools, the principal's role is not as a "leader of followers" but as a "leader ofleaders". The research also noted that principals need to employ in their leadership style a certain set of behaviors when dealing with individuals in different situations depending on the person's personality and the specific situation at hand.

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