The Importance of the Relationships Between Teachers and School Principals
Van Beck, Scott
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Leithwood et al. (2004), Marzano, Waters, and McNulty (2005), Portin et al. (2009), Louis and Leithwood et al. (2010), and Knapp et al. (2010) stated that the relationship between teachers and the school principal are extremely important in high-performing schools. Likewise, low-performing schools lack strong, positive relationships between teachers and their school principal. As the center of reflective practice between teachers and the principal, the school itself will be a critical key to improving our nation's future student achievement. For this study, 310 practicing campus principals from a large Gulf Coast metropolitan area were interviewed. This study looked at the responses of school principals when asked the following questions: 1) Why is the relationship between the principal and the teacher important for the school? 2) What is the most critical feature for a successful working relationship between the teacher and the principal? 3) What does a principal do to create good relations with their teachers? And, 4) How does the principal look out for the personal welfare of their teachers? Data coding was utilized to determine the emergent themes from the principals' responses regarding their beliefs about the importance of developing relationships between the school principal and teachers. Descriptive statistics were utilized to determine percentages and frequencies of principals' responses. Results of the study showed that principals identified three dominant factors in positive relationships between principals and teachers that impact student achievement. Leadership and support, communication, and inter-personal (trust and respect) skills were found to be the most important factors in developing positive relationships between principals and teachers to impact student achievement. The results of this study will expand the knowledge base regarding the complex role and expectations of the principal and provide useful information that can be used to inform graduate level educational leadership courses and the preparation of scool leaders, in addition to providing for better professional development and evaluation during teaching and principal careers.