Public Secondary School Principals' Perspectives on Teacher Hiring: What Matters Most?

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Fall 2012


Federal and state educational accountability mandates and measures have raised the standards for the hiring of teachers in public schools. While existing literature stresses the importance of hiring well, a gap in the knowledge base exists in the area of principal perspectives on how best to accomplish the task of hiring. Therefore, the primary purpose of this qualitative study was to determine the perspectives of public secondary school principals on hiring process and practices, as well as the perceived impact of those hiring decisions. In-depth interviews of 13 public secondary school principals were conducted and recorded while field notes were taken. Themes were delineated, analyzed, and related back to the study's research questions. The overarching theme throughout this study was the clear desire of public secondary school principals to hire the best teacher candidates available for their job openings. The process by which the respondents reached that goal, while not an exact science, was similar across districts of varied sizes and both middle and high school levels. Commonalities included an application preview, an almost exclusively collaborative interview process, and a search for the best fit without regard to gender, ethnicity, or major. The findings of this study show that principals desire teacher candidates who possess three key qualities: character, competence, and chemistry. Furthermore, although this study concludes that the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) may have set a minimum standard for the certification status of prospective teachers, NCLB did not change what school leaders really seek in future teachers. Therefore, teacher candidates and institutions of higher education would benefit from a strong focus on the qualities referenced by principals as being paramount, and school leaders, likewise, would benefit from additional training in how to ascertain those same traits through the teacher selection process.


Casey Brown

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision