Date of Award

Spring 5-24-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Phil Pendley

Second Advisor

Dr. Kimberly Cabrera

Third Advisor

Dr. Emily Shaw


The purpose of this study was to (a) investigate expert high school principals’ perceptions regarding the minimum length of principal tenure necessary to develop a positive school culture (b) determine the impact the length of high school principal tenure has on high schools’ culture and (c) to develop recommendations regarding actions to be taken with respect to principal tenure. This particular study utilized a structural Delphi model in which expert high school principals give their expert opinion on how principal tenure affects school culture at high schools and provide suggestions for new principals and district cabinet members on how to build a sustainable, positive school culture. By the end of the study, building relationships and developing trust amongst all stakeholders were the two most critical aspects of a new principal’s job when they begin their leadership of a high school. Lastly, providing support and professional development opportunities while ensuring a principal’s tenure is at least five years at a high school are the most critical for a district to provide a new principal to ensure a positive school culture. The findings show that a high school principal should stay at a site for at least five years in order to develop a sustainable, positive school culture. During this time, the district should provide professional development and support so that the principal can focus on building relationships and open communication lines with all stakeholder groups to ensure a team effort is developed to create a positive school culture that supports student success. As for further research, it is recommended that there be a focus on the district’s perspective on the effects of principal tenure on a school’s culture, as well as, measure how important school culture is to the district. Another area of future research would be to get the stakeholders’ perspectives on the importance and effects of principal tenure on a school’s culture. Lastly, it would be interesting to include current site demographic data and site culture as an added factor as part of the existing study.

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