All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Loucrecia Collins

Advisory Committee Members

John A Dantzler

Deborah T Horn

Rosemary Newton

Linda Searby

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


The purpose of the dissertation was to gain an in-depth understanding of what meaning principals in Alabama made of their administrative roles and experiences in an era of high-stakes accountability. With the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) signed into legislation in January of 2002, federal, state, and local accountability mandates have vastly increased. In an era of unprecedented educational reform and accountability, there arose an unrelenting expectation for effective school leaders. The principalship has morphed into one of the most demanding positions in the field of education. The researcher used a qualitative approach to explore and gather rich descriptions of principals’ leadership roles and experiences in an era of high-stakes accountability. Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval was obtained prior to instigating the research for this study. Ten principals, who represented 10 school districts from across the State of Alabama, comprised this study. Data were collected using in-depth interviews, artifact collections, and site observations. After analyzing all of the data collected, five themes and 21 sub-themes emerged. The five major themes that emerged were Administrative roles and responsibilities, Collaborative/Shared leadership, Relentless Commitment to Student Success, Professional Growth and Development, and Demands of the Principalship. This study on the leadership experiences of principals in Alabama is very beneficial for schools, districts, school boards, and universities in validating the complexities faced by school principals, highlighting approaches and proposing effective leadership strategies, adding valuable insight that can inform content to reforming the principalship, structuring district-level professional development programs as well as university administration programs.

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