Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education

First Advisor

Kent Seidel, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Linda Brookhart

Third Advisor

Susan Korach


Balanced leadership, Leadership, Phenomenology


The purpose of this study was to describe, interpret and analyze the experiences of six elementary principals in the Stewart district who have effectively balanced the instructional and managerial roles of the principalship. The research question for this study is: How do effective principals balance managerial tasks and instructional leadership responsibilities?

By analyzing these experiences, principals would be able to provide valuable insights into principal's needs and feelings about instructional leadership. This study centers around six elementary principals that provided information regarding the skills needed to become an instructional leader and their interpretation of experiences that contributed to their development as a successful instructional leader.

This qualitative research study using phenomenology methods focused on research questions about principals' feelings, knowledge, and actions around how to balance managerial duties and instructional leadership practices. Several interviews and a shadowing of each participant gave principals the opportunity to identify instructional leadership strategies used to create a successful learning environment. The researcher conducted, recorded, transcribed, and evaluated the interviews with selected elementary principals. Principals participated in a shadowing activity also. The researcher analyzed the results for repeating themes regarding problems and potential solutions to achieve balance between management and instructional leadership among interviewed principals. The study used the results of principal interview data and the shadowing data to determine the balance between managerial and instructional responsibilities.

Several emerging themes surfaced from this study. The emerging themes included principals having a teaching background, collaboration, setting goals and planning, prioritizing instructional tasks, arranging meetings before and after school, possessing knowledge of teaching and learning, providing data analysis from central office, providing differentiated professional development and providing additional office personnel when needed. The principals in this study were "applying several successful strategies: They fostered a school culture that valued shared leadership, group responsibility, and teacher professionalism. Principals prioritized their work and time to create opportunities for instructional leadership" (Boris-Schacter& Lange, 2005, p. 33).

Principals used the following universal strategies to balance managerial tasks and instructional responsibilities restructuring schedules, delegating tasks, prioritizing time and work to create opportunities for instructional leadership, hiring people who are open-minded and flexible, fostering a school culture that values shared leadership group responsibility, and teacher professionalism. Each participant provided insights in ways to balance leadership in a productive climate.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Ann K. Christy


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

132 p.


Educational administration