This paper presents findings from a single site case study of a school in a rural part of Malaysia. Based on data collected through semi-structured interviews of the principal, teachers, students and parents, and observations, document scanning and field notes, the study attempts to identify the context under which the school operates, the core practices of the school principal and the enactment of these core practices. The data analysis was carried out through data reduction resulting in initial themes which were further refined several times until consensus was achieved. The themes were then discussed under the light of theories resulting in the final categories. The findings reveal that personal traits of the principal and her strength of building strong coalitions enabled her to successfully meet her contextual challenges. In conclusion, we argue that leadership practices are multidimensional and although successful principals draw from the similar repertoire of core practices, they enact these core practices in response to their own unique contexts to bring success. The findings would provide important insights for principals and future researchers who might be interested in conducting similar studies to enrich the successful school leadership literature from Malaysian context.


Case Study, Successful Principal, Malaysia, School Leadership, Successful School

Author Bio(s)

Mohammad Noman was born in India and currently works as the School Principal in an International School in Malaysia, owned by Universiti Utara Malaysia. He has an extensive experience in K-12 education, both as a teacher and as a school leader. He holds a Master degree in Education, majoring in educational administration and is currently giving finishing touches to his PhD thesis in Educational leadership. His research interests are in educational leadership and management, K-12 education, motivation, qualitative research and assessment. He has published several research papers in reputable journals. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: mdnoman@yahoo.com.

Prof. Dr. Rosna Awang Hashim is a fulltime professor in School of education and modern languages, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia. Prof. Rosna was born in the northern state of Kedah from where she did most of her schooling. She completed her Bachelor degree in English and French from the University of Texas. She did her Masters from the same university in TESL and secondary education. She then moved on to the University of Southern California from where she completed her Ph. D. in educational Psychology. She has been associated with the Universiti Utara Malaysia for last three decades and has served several high profile positions. She was the deputy vice-chancellor of UUM for two-year tenure. Her research interests include Educational Psychology, School Engagement, Adolescent Motivation, Teacher Education, Learning & Instruction, Project-based Learning, Quantitative Methodology, Psychometrics and Structural Equation Modelling.

Dr. Sarimah Shaik-Abdullah was born in Malaysia and currently works in School of education and modern languages, Malaysia as a senior lecturer. She received her bachelor and Master degrees in ESL from the University of Texas, USA. She then moved on to the University of Birmingham, UK for her Ph.D. in Education, which she completed in the year 2005. Her research interests include Learning as a Social Practice, Adolescent Literacy, Action Research, Reflective Inquiry and Qualitative Research. She has conducted several researches and published articles in several journals.

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