Forgotten Leaders: What do we know about the deputy principalship in secondary schools?
Cranston, NC and Tromans, C and Reugebrink, M, Forgotten Leaders: What do we know about the deputy principalship in secondary schools?, International Journal of Leadership in Education, 7, (3) pp. 225-242. ISSN 1360-3124 (2004) [Refereed Article]
This article examines the roles of deputy principals (assistant principals, deputy heads) in secondary schools and thus contributes to an under-researched area often overlooked in discussions about school leadership. Typically, these discussions have focussed on the principalship alone. Data were collected from deputy principals in one large government education system in Australia using a specially designed questionnaire, comprising closed and open items. Respondents reported high pressure in the role, and an increase in recent times in the number of hours worked and in the variety and diversity of the role. Noteworthy is the fact that the majority were satisfied with their role as a deputy principal, with about 40% intending to seek promotion to the principalship. 'Lifestyle decisions' were the overwhelming deterrent to seeking promotion. The level of satisfaction with their role related to how well the notion of team among school administration team members was developed and the alignment in their roles between what deputy principals saw as their real role with their ideal role. The closer the real and ideal roles were aligned, the higher the level of satisfaction. Deputy principals identified strong interpersonal/people skills, inspiring and visioning change, delegation and empowerment and being a good manager as key skills for their role. Professional development areas of need for them included financial management and leadership skills.