ERIC Number: ED453579
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Contextualizing the Position of Assistant Principal.
Mertz, Norma T.
This paper reports on a study that described how assistant principals operate within the context in which they serve, and how they and their professional situations interact. Its focus was less on their duties and more on the how: how they think about what they do and their position, how they perceive their place within the organization, and how they think about the nature of the position. Further, the study looked at the ways organizational norms are communicated and how persons in the position of assistant principal respond to these communications. The study was designed to be exploratory and descriptive, to generate hypotheses, not test them, and to be suggestive rather than generalizable. Eight assistant principals in two high schools were selected as the site and population for the study. All had been educators for more than 2 decades, and all save one had been teachers earlier in their careers. In-depth interviews were held with each of the eight assistant principals; additionally, half were observed in their school and half were observed going about their work. The findings are highly suggestive about how assistant principals are socialized, and how they learn the roles and norms of the position, irrespective of the particular school organization, structure, or climate. While they may or may not be prepared for the job, they come with a socialized disposition to the position. They are anything but strangers to the organization and its norms, and the organization uses the position as a low-risk means to test the adequacy of the fit between the person and the organization. Apparently, the test of success is the ability of the individual to play the role well. (Contains 30 references.) (DFR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the University Council for Educational Administration (14th, Albuquerque, NM, November 3-5, 2000).