ERIC Number: EJ1226699
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Abstractor: As Provided
Supporting Principal Supervisors: What Really Matters?
Honig, Meredith I.; Rainey, Lydia R.
Journal of Educational Administration, v57 n5 p445-462 2019
Purpose: Districts across the country are calling on their principal supervisors to shift from mainly focusing on operations and compliance to dedicating their time to help principals grow as instructional leaders. Learning theory elaborates that such support for principals demands that supervisors take a teaching-and-learning approach -- which the authors define as consistently using particular strategies that are characteristic of high quality teachers and mentors across various apprenticeship settings -- to their work with principals on their instructional leadership. Prior research on leadership supports these shifts but does not examine the conditions under which principal supervisors are able to persist and grow in taking a teaching-and-learning approach specifically. What are those conditions? The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach: This paper addresses that question through a re-examination of data from two studies with socio-cultural learning theory as the conceptual framework. The authors primarily use observation data (approximately 760 hours), supplemented by 344 interviews and reviews of hundreds of documents. Findings: Contrary to extant research the authors did not associate high quality outside coaching with the positive cases of principal supervision. Nor did hiring principal supervisors with requisite prior knowledge explain why some principal supervisors regressed and grew. Findings underscore the importance of supervisors of principal supervisors (SPSs) being principal supervisors' main mentors and principal supervisors not over-relying on others for assistance but actively leading their own learning, especially through work with colleagues and protecting their time themselves. Originality/value: This analysis distinguishes conditions that support principal supervisors in taking a teaching-and-learning approach to their work with principals. The authors elaborate key roles for chief academic officers and others who supervise principal supervisors typically overlooked in policy and research on district leadership. Findings reinforce the importance of mentoring to learning and also district leaders serving as main mentors for each other, rather than relying on outside coaching.
Descriptors: Principals, Supervision, Central Office Administrators, School Administration, Instructional Leadership, Coaching (Performance), Mentors
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A