The Principal Hiring Process: A Study of the Use of Fit to Select Leaders for Low-Achieving Campuses

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Spring 2023


Every person in leadership sees themselves as the conduit between the success and failure of an institution or business. This most likely comes from the idea that “everything rises and falls on leadership” (Covey & Maxwell, 2007, p. 7). Educational campus administrators, also known as principals and lead learners, are responsible for ensuring that all students learn in the classrooms in which they’re placed (Clifford et al., 2012). Campuses that struggle with student learning risk being identified as low performing should the phenomenon become cyclical. This study investigates the perceptions of district-level and campus-based leadership related to fit. This study addresses the use of the fit protocol to select principals to lead campuses that are already low-performing or in an improvement-required status. Human Resource Offices utilize specific fit themes to view candidates. These themes include person-job fit, person-group fit, person-supervisor fit, and person-organization fit. This qualitative interpretive study used virtual interviews, focus group question vetting, theme identification using MAXQDA and NVivo process, and longitudinal data from academic achievement derived from the Texas Academic Progress Report (TAPR).


Julia W. Ballenger

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision