Date of Award

Spring 3-14-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Marilou Ryder, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Myrna Cote', Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Alan Enomoto, Ed.D.


Purpose: It was the purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study to examine the experiences of K-12 school principals who participated in the co-principal model viewed through the lens of the California Professional Standards for Education Leaders (CPSELs). No such study specifically focusing on the CPSELs has been conducted, even though the co-principal model has been implemented in various forms for over forty years. It is important to determine if the co-principalship is an effective alternative for schools and districts.

Methodology: To investigate the co-principal model of school leadership in California schools and districts, this study followed a phenomenological qualitative research design. A series of face-to-face or virtual interviews with the various co-principals took place. Interviews were conducted to provide personal experiences of those who have worked in the co-principal model for at least one year. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded for themes. In addition, participants were asked to submit artifacts that would provide additional information that was pertinent to this study. For analyzing the artifacts of the study’s participants, a matrix was devised for theme analysis.

Findings: Examination of the qualitative data from the nine principals participating in this study affirm that the co-principal model is indeed a viable alternative to the traditional model of school administration. Universally, participants spoke in favor of a co-principalship, sharing that it adds increased principal presence at the school site, is a solid example of collaboration and professionalism for staff and students, allows them to share the principal workload with another person, and strengthen relationships with stakeholders. Unanimously, participants agreed that they prefer the co-principalship.

Conclusions: The study supported the implementation of a co-principalship and the value that having two leaders on a school site can add. The ability to share the workload with another person also allows for a better work-life balance for those serving in a co-principalship.

Recommendations: Further research is recommended to focus on the personal characteristics needed in order for a co-principalship to be successful. Another idea is to study the perceptions of district superintendents and/or classroom teachers who have implemented or worked under the model.