Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


School principals--Iowa; School principals; Iowa;


This study was intended to discover how the practicing principal views his role. Specifically, it focused on how he feels he spends his time and how he feels he should spend his time. Characteristics of the personal life, the professional preparation, and the current position of the practicing Iowa principal were studied as factors which influence the role,

Several studies were found to be descriptive of the role and its problems, but not to have clear and precise directives for performance. Analysis of the literature revealed a role encompassing many tasks, foremost of which included tasks performed for the supervision of instruction and the maintenance of good school climate. The principal was found in need of role identification, especially regarding his relations with central administration and teaching staff. His delegation of time to administrative or supervisory tasks was also a point of conflict, Collective negotiations, teacher militancy, and social change seemed to be significant as factors contributing to this role dilemma. The professional responsibility was seen to be great enough to overwhelm the personal life.

The role was summarized into nine dimensions of performance. A questionnaire was devised and mailed to ninety-two Iowa principals, seeking their perceptions of how they spend their time and how they should spend their time in those dimensions. Eighty-nine (96.7%) were returned. The responses were computed mathematically and the dimensions of the principal's actual performance rank-ordered as follows:

1. school climate; 2. schedules, accounts, and other management matters; J. relations with students; 4. instructional program; 5. relations with other staff members; 6. school organization; 7, relations with central administration and other school units; 8. relations with the community; 9. plant and facilities.

In the desired role the dimensions were rank-ordered as follows: 1. instructional program; 2. school climate; J. relations with students; 4. relations with other staff members; 5. school organization; 6. relations with the community; 7. schedules, accounts, and other management matters; 8. relations with central administration and other school units; 9. plant and facilities.

The principal's actual and desired roles correlate closely, with a coefficient of .65 at less than the .05 level, As the size of the principal's school district increases, the correlation decreases, and other trends appear in such characteristics as the age of the principal, number of years of experience, .professional preparation, and priorities in his delegation of time.

The study also revealed personal and professional characteristics of the Iowa principal. The typical Iowa principal was described, and the University of Northern Iowa and University of Iowa were found to share the distinction of contributing to the graduate preparation of more Iowa principals than any other institution,

Several conclusions were drawn. 1, The University of Northern Iowa plays a significant role in preparing Iowa's principals. 2. The Iowa principal spends his time where he perceives he should. 3. The principal's age, responsibilities, and career pursuits vary with the size of the district. 4. The thrust of the principal's work is aimed at the satisfaction of the people under his direction and the improvement of instruction, 5o The principal's age, years of teaching experience, and years in his current position are factors which correspond with his selection of duties to perform.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education


Department of School Administration and Personnel Services

First Advisor

Donald L. Hanson


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Date Original


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1 PDF file (125 pages)



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