First Advisor

Amy Petti

Date of Publication

Summer 7-27-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Administration


Educational Leadership and Policy




Elementary school principals, Educational leadership, Elementary school administration -- Decision making, School management and organization -- Decision making, Elementary education -- Finance, Poor children -- Education (Elementary)



Physical Description

1 online resource (x, 182 pages)


Recently, a great deal of interest has been generated around the role of principal and its effectiveness, especially its impact on improving teacher instruction and student learning. Waters, Marzano, and McNulty (2003) concluded that one quarter of all "school effects" on achievement can be attributed to principals. While there is general agreement on the principal's importance and affect, do we understand how principals have adapted to changes in schools with reduced resources and increased learning needs of students? How have principals made decisions in an environment where resources have been reduced over time? Given the stories of retired principals from high poverty elementary schools, the purpose of this narrative inquiry is to understand how principals made sense of their experience when having to respond to decreasing resources and the need for increased student achievement. Participants in the study included retired principals from high poverty elementary schools who were employed during the time period extending from 2008 through 2014. Findings from the study make sense of the meanings elementary principals have constructed and attached to the phenomena of decision -making in times of financial reduction in order to help other principals who have been challenged by similar circumstances. Three categories of leadership styles and seven skill areas emerged in the study. Principals made use of these styles and skills in their responses to the crisis.


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