Supporting the New Principal: Central Office Support Options

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Fall 2014


Novice principals have expressed frustration and feelings of inadequacy as they struggled through their first years as campus leaders in an era of increasingly difficult demands on the principalship. Central office administrators, whose roles have also become progressively more challenging, have a limited body of research to call upon when considering their options for supporting new principals. To reduce this gap in research literature, the researcher conducted a nationwide qualitative study of central office leaders' perceptions of the availability and effectiveness of options for supporting new principals. The sample of 249 school district leaders from 49 states found that new principals in participants' districts could expect to be supported through formal principal meetings, informal meetings with supervisors, and supervision by a person who had prior experience as a principal. Specific leadership areas perceived as receiving the greatest support from district leaders included employee management, school safety, and data management. Some of the support methods viewed as the most effective were reported to be available less frequently than less effective support options. Findings showed a discrepancy in perceptions of new principal support efficacy when comparing the point of view of district leaders in this study with that of new principals in existing studies. The study concluded with suggestions for ways that leaders from school districts, principal preparation programs, and state education departments could improve outcomes for schools led by new principals.


Arthur J. Borgemenke

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership