Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Teacher-principal relationships--Iowa--Case studies; Elementary school principals--Training of--Iowa;


Research has demonstrated a correlation between effective education leaders, principals in particular, and student achievement. The correlation included characteristics, or responsibilities, that effective principals exhibit in order to raise student achievement. These responsibilities, along with developmentally appropriate practices, serve as conceptual frameworks for this case study. The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experiences of preschool through third grade teachers who have served under principals with early childhood/elementary backgrounds and those with backgrounds in middle/secondary education. This qualitative case study focused on 10 Iowa early childhood classroom teachers in grades preschool through third. Further, all participants currently teach in early childhood classrooms in various sizes of school districts from rural, suburban, and urban areas throughout the state of Iowa. Data collection was completed through survey, semi-structured interviews, and document review. This case study focused on the effects principals have on early childhood programming. The concept of early childhood educational leadership applies to Iowa’s early childhood principals who serve teachers, students, and families in grades preschool through third. Themes that appeared throughout this case study included an early childhood principal’s need to: (a) have a background in early childhood education, (b) have an advanced understanding of child development, (c) implement effective teaching strategies to close the achievement gap, (d) communicate and relate to staff and students effectively, and (e) be visible in the early childhood classrooms. Implications include the option for the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE) to reexamine the effects of licensing principals PK-12. In addition, the institutes of higher education within Iowa may need to adjust their programming to better serve the needs of early childhood educational leaders.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education

First Advisor

Victoria Robinson

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xi, 197 pages)



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