Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

John Kaufhold

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine in detail the experiences of four elementary school principals who have gone through the process of opening new year-round schools in the past 5 years in a large urban school district in North Carolina. In particular, this study examined and documented the procedures that the principals used in opening the new schools, as well as in making the schools operational. It examined the principals' perceptions regarding the tasks and procedures involved in opening a new public elementary school and how to go about this process successfully in a rapidly growing school district in North Carolina. During the literature review, seven common functions of leadership were also studied. They were instructional leadership, managerial leadership, cultural leadership, human resources leadership, strategic leadership, external development leadership and micro-political leadership. Each of these areas played an important role in each of the principal participants' opening of their new schools. Other areas researched were increasing enrollments in American schools, school finance, effective school culture and leadership styles, school scheduling options, school personnel patterns, and technology.

This qualitative study used case studies as the methodology. The data from this study was collected by personal interviews with each of the four randomly selected principals. The research was guided by the questions seeking information regarding the challenges, pitfalls, and advice when opening new schools.

Emerging from the data were several findings that revealed important learning about opening new schools. The findings revealed that principals opening new schools should possess great communication skills, have knowledge of the school system in which the new school is located, and delegate as many managerial tasks as possible in order to focus on hiring the best staff for the school. It was also revealed that principals opening new campuses should spend much time on teaching and reteaching norms to both the students and the staff during the first year of operation.