Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Leadership and Policy Studies
Vivian Gunn Morris
The purpose of this study was to provide a historical analysis of the evolution of the elementary school principalship in the United States during the past 80 years.The study explored chronologically, the historical evolution of the principalship and closely aligned the changes with the political, economic, social issues and events that simultaneously occurred during this time period. Additionally, the study provided an understanding of the leadership roles and responsibilities of elementary principals during this era.The study was guided by three research questions: How has the public elementary principalship evolved in the United States during the 20th century? How do the political, economic, social issues and events influence the elementary principalship in the United States? What was the status of the public school elementary principal in each decade (1928-2008) during the 20th century and the beginning of the 21th century? Findings from this study indicated that the elementary principalship evolved through various stages until it became a recognized position during the mid-19th century. Additionally, there were three dominant roles of the elementary principalship throughout the 20th century: instructional leadership, managerial leadership and community leadership. Each of these dominant roles was influenced by the political, economic, social issues and events that occurredin the United States during this era. Even though various studies and articles have been written about the evolution of the principalship; there was limited research that focused on the direct link between the political, economic, social issues and events that may have influenced the evolution.Understanding the relationship between these factors and the potential they have for influencing future changes in the role and responsibilities of the principal is imperative, especially if principals will be expected to adapt quickly to changes. This research provides a framework for understanding the historical evolution of the principalship and recognizing the potential impact of the political, economic, social issues and events on the principalship and what it may mean for them in the future.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Allen, Yvonne Griggs, "Historical Perspectives of Public School Elementary Principals in the United States: An Analysis of 80 Years of Studies Commissioned by the National Association of Elementary School Principals" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 935.