Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice


Mary Clisbee

Committee Member

David Weintraub


principals, elementary schools, self-efficacy, instructional leadership, education


The aim of this applied dissertation was to develop a better understanding of how elementary principals in a large school district in the southeastern United States perceive their self- efficacy as instructional leaders and administrators. The pressures of high accountability play an impactful role in how principals view their roles and their ability to perform effectively.

This qualitative case study utilized interviews and Photovoice for data collection. Participants were six elementary school principals from the same southeastern school district. Participants were interviewed independently. A second, photo-elicited interview was conducted with each participant to discuss the significance of their photographs. A reflexive, thematic approach was used for data analysis. Nine significant themes were deduced from the data: (a) principals possess high-level skill sets and abilities, (b) principals have a high level of perceived self-efficacy, (c) prioritize time management to fulfill critical obligations, (d) leading with compassion and flexibility fosters trust and a sense of community, (e) connect with stakeholders to build collaborative relationships, (f) professional training programs greatly impact job performance, (g) professional relationships increase perceived levels of self- efficacy, (h) leadership experiences both increase and decrease perceived levels of self- efficacy, and (i) negative experiences can increase perceived self-efficacy levels.

Study findings indicated an integral connection between self-efficacy and leadership performance and may provide valuable insight for the development of principal preparation curriculum and professional development. The researcher recommends further qualitative studies on this phenomenon using larger sample sizes.

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