|The assistant principalship is a vital and necessary pathway to the principalship. There are more demands for the principal to be the change agent for a school system and there is great concern about the quality of preparation for assistant principals who may become the future principals of the school. Taylor and Martin (2007) suggest that assistant principals are not groomed for the principalship because they spend their time on limited matters and do not receive experiences necessary to become effective principals.
The literature compiled for this study indicated that effective preparation for assistant principals should include formal and informal mentoring, meaningful professional development, experiences, networking, and should foster their desire to aspire to become a principal. These components were the foundation for creating the Assistant Principal Development Framework which was used to collect information for assistant principals’ beliefs about the extent to which they were prepared for the principalship as well as how their real and ideal development compared to one another. Quantitative data were collected that gathered information on assistant principals’ perceptions. The study also sought to determine if assistant principals’ responses to real and ideal development differed based on time spent focusing on what the literature suggests is necessary for principals to know how to do.
A one-way ANOVA was used in analyzing the dependent variables (professional development, mentoring, networking, and aspiration to the principalship) mean scores for assistant principals who agreed, were neutral, or disagreed about being prepared for the principalship. An independent samples Kruskal-Wallis test was used for experience. The Wilcoxon test, evaluated differences between in reality and ideally how much time was spent on curriculum and instruction, budget and finance, discipline, community relations, management of the school, and buildings and grounds. Paired-samples t-test were conducted to compare the ideal professional development with real professional development. Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test was used to compare whether or not assistant principals spend more time managing the school than they do on curriculum and instruction, and whether or not assistant principals are provided the opportunities to lead meetings, complete instructional observations, and balance the budget in order to prepare them for the principalship.
Findings from this study revealed most survey participants spend more time managing the school than they do on curriculum and instruction and that assistant principals are not provided the opportunities to lead meetings, complete instructional observations, and balance the budget in order to prepare them for the principalship. Scores were significantly higher for the ideal professional development, mentoring, aspiration, and networking than for the real professional development, mentoring, aspiration, and networking. Results from the quantitative analysis also confirmed the five elements from the Assistant Principal Development Framework as being instrumental in preparing assistant principals for the principalship. The findings from this study can help educators understand assistant principals’ perceptions of how prepared they believe they are for the principalship and how their ideal development compares to their reported development as defined by the Assistant Principal Development Framework. Although this study cannot be generalized to all assistant principals, it is recommended that educational leaders use the Assistant Principal Development Framework as an appropriate framework to grow assistant principals for the principalship.