Middle School Principal Perceptions of Readiness to Serve: A Phenomenological Self-Efficacy Study

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Summer 2021


Transitioning into the role of the principal or leader of learning is typically one that is filled with tremendous excitement (Mascall & Leithwood, 2010). However, it may also be challenging and even untenable at times if the shift in roles, specific job duties, and social and emotional pressures are not areas of leadership that the new principal has borrowed experience to lean on or that they believe they can successfully fulfill (Fuller & Young, 2009). At a national level, research highlights that only one half of new principals will remain serving on the same campus as the principal between year one and five in the principalship (Fuller & Young, 2009). These statistics are not only disruptive to the teaching and learning success of a campus, teacher turnover, financial stewarding, but even more so are the detrimental effects that can be felt at the middle school level when principals do not feel ready for the role (Mascall & Leithwood, 2010). This study will use qualitative phenomenology to understand the phenomena of principal self-efficacy from the perspectives of eight to twelve active middle school principals, with one to three years of experience. The results of this study provide evidence for more robust and individualized support for new middle school principals before and after they have matriculated into the role of principal. The researcher concludes the paper with recommendations for future research to support the growth and development of self-efficacy among new middle school principals during their first one to three years in the position.


Ray Thompson

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision