Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

W. Jeff Wallis

Second Supervisor

Adam L. Rockman


Research has shown that a strong relationship prevails between principals’ leadership characteristics, student engagement, teacher efficacy, and parental involvement toward responding to the demands of school accountability (Maxwell, Huggins, and Scheurich, 2010). Superintendents across the country are reporting the increasing difficulty of getting adept administrators (Cruzeiro and Boone, 2009). Superintendents who are primarily the ones responsible for the hiring of principals must be able to identify and assess the principal applicants as to their suitability and effectiveness as an administrator to meet the accountability and performance demands (Estes, 2011). This study sought to identify superintendents’ perceptions of the important personal and leadership characteristics that newly hired principals exhibit which support their effectiveness in leading schools. This study made clear the value judgements that superintendents have of what constitutes an adept principal. This author used a descriptive qualitative research design approach to explore the perceptions of superintendents about the personal and professional characteristics of the newly hired principals that they have hired and/or supervised. Specifically, the study involved the use of semi-structured interviews with superintendents at 10 conveniently selected New York State Education Department (NYSED) identified school districts from the Hudson Valley region in New York State. The results of this study were used to aide in identifying gaps between the training of school administrators and superintendents’ desired skills for newly hired principals. The results of the study are discussed according to eight findings that arose from the data: interpersonal and intrapersonal are necessary personal characteristics; participative, influential, and managerial skills are necessary leadership skills; inclusive, trust and transformational skills are characteristic that increase the likelihood of principal retention. Additional research should be conducted to determine whether district size is a factor that influences the leadership and personal characteristics required in newly hired principals by superintendents. In addition, a recommendation was made in terms of the practicality of the identified characteristics within the framework of certification programs and initially certified principals.

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