Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies

First Advisor

Edward Cox


Significant research has been conducted into the relationship of the school principal to the success of the school program. This success is often measured by metrics that assess the academic accomplishments of the school’s students. The value of quality leadership is effectively summarized by an observation made more than 30 years ago from High School: A Report on Secondary Education in America. The author of that report, Ernest Boyer, concluded that in schools where achievement is high and there exists a feeling of community, it is found without exception that the principal made the difference (Boyer, 1983).

There is a great body of research and theory postulating the attributes of effective leadership. These findings cross the full spectrum of leadership sectors: public, private, non-profit, and the military. There exists a wealth of information relating the effectiveness of leadership to quality, productivity and longevity across all these sectors. Significant information also exists establishing the relationship between the effective instructional leadership of a principal and increased student achievement. Additional research, observation, and analysis has been recorded regarding the leadership styles of individuals. Less fully researched is a link between personality traits and the instructional leadership of a school principal.

The purpose of this quantitative study is to examine the relationship between the leadership personality of a principal and the perception of that principal as an instructional leader. More specifically it seeks to determine if a principal’s dominant personality characteristic, as defined by a four quadrant analysis, relates to the faculty’s perception of that principal’s instructional leadership.

This study addresses that over-arching question by comparing the primary personality characteristic of a principal to the responses given by that principal’s faculty in a survey rating their perception of that principal as an instructional leader. That perception is also examined in light of several other demographic traits of the principal: gender, ethnicity, years of principal experience, Title I-eligibility of the school, and grade level of the school.

The results of this study indicate that a principal’s predominant personality characteristic does not impact that individual’s perception as an instructional leader by the faculty. Faculty perception of a principal’s instructional leadership was also not affected by principal gender or Title I-eligibility of the school. A weak to moderate relationship between the faculty’s perception of a principal’s instructional leadership and principal ethnicity, years of principal experience, and the grade level of the school was indicated in the research as conducted.