Date of Award

Summer 7-20-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Douglas DeVore, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Shawn Judson, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Carol Bidwell-Pilgren, Ed.D.


Purpose: The purpose of this empirical, descriptive case study was to explore and describe the importance of Emotional Intelligence as perceived by California public school (K-12) superintendents when hiring and recruiting new school site principals.

Methodology: Convenience purposeful sampling was used to identify 12 superintendents throughout the California public education system at unified (K-12) school districts with a minimum of eight schools. An empirical, descriptive case study was used to collect data from superintendents through a survey and semi-structured interviews. Superintendents grouped domains of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management, and general characteristics as essential, important, desirable or no value when hiring new school site principals.

The results were analyzed for patterns and themes using NVivo (NVivo 10, 2012) to determine the importance of EI characteristics when superintendents hire new school site principals.

Findings: Participants identified Emotional Intelligence components as essential when hiring new school site principals. Self-management was determined as the most valuable EI component when describing expectations for leaders.

Conclusions: Principals with high Emotional Intelligence skills are perceived as leaders that can positively build a school culture, move an organization forward, and improve student achievement. Superintendents desire principal candidates who encompass emotional intelligence characteristics to lead schools.

Recommendations: The researcher recommends that school districts and administrator preparation programs provide training and development to enhance an emotional intelligence skillset in leaders. In addition, the researcher recommends personnel departments at school districts incorporate questions to seek out candidates that have high EI.