Characteristics for principal employment: A Board of Trustee chair perspective

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Wilson, Robert
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Master of Educational Leadership and Management
Unitec Institute of Technology
Cardno, Carol
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
boards of trustees
school principals
Wilson, R. (2008). Characteristics for principal employment: A Board of Trustee chair perspective. A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
RESEARCH QUESTIONS 1. What do BoT chairs require as characteristics of effective principals? 2. Why do they hold these perceptions of characteristics as important when appointing a principal? 3. What are the challenges faced by BoT in determining these characteristics? Boards are responsible for the appointment of principal and school leader and of all the roles in which the boards find themselves undertaking, none is more critical than the recruitment of a principal. There is a gap in literature representing the view of the Board of Trustees (BoT) and their expectations regarding the characteristics of principals. With an already limited pool of quality and aspiring principals, boards and principal applicants require clarity as this may help stem some of the flow of principals leaving the profession and aspiring principals opting not to apply. Research has been prevalent in listing characteristics from perspectives, which do not necessarily represent the BoT’s personal views or interests. In this thesis, I have undertaken this study to find what BoT chairs require as characteristics of effective principals. The research methods used were semi-structured interviews with board chairs and documentary analysis of recruitment packages. The study found that BoT chairs considered the characteristics of principals to be of great importance to their potential effectiveness; confusion existed in relation to the use of terms such as values, qualities and skills; that four particular characteristics (communicator, collaborator, visionary, motivator) were critical; and that principal characteristics that fostered a positive working relationship were highly valued.
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