Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Susan M. Schultz

Second Supervisor

Michelle M. Ryan


Over the past decade, high schools have become increasingly focused on addressing the academic needs of their students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) (Hansen, 2014). The emergence of STEM-focused-schools has enabled K-12 institutions to focus on STEM fields and prioritize academics in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (Hansen, 2014). The purpose of this study was to explore the leadership qualities of principals serving in STEM-focused schools. The research has shown that teachers of science, mathematics, and other STEM subjects in traditional high schools have not received direct instructional support from their principals regarding their content areas (Lochmiller & Acker-Hocevar, 2016). In exploring the role of principals’ instructional leadership within the STEM-focused schools, this population of school administrators’ leadership was examined. The researcher used a qualitative approach to determine the transformational leadership styles of principals at STEM-focused schools and how they work to support the instructional needs of their teachers. Data were collected using the MLQ-5X survey tool and semi-structured phone interviews. Three findings emerged from the study. First, principals in STEM-focused schools work as transformational leaders and demonstrate these qualities as well. Second, principals of STEM-focused high schools work carefully to craft the environment and culture of their institution to operate at its highest standard. Third, principals of STEM focused high schools work to support their teachers through professional development, instructional coaching, and supporting teachers’ development.

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