This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Assistant Principals: Facilitating Factors and Barriers in Fulfilling the Role of Instructional Leader




Duncan, Brittney

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


The purpose of this descriptive qualitative content analysis study was to identify not only how Alabama assistant principals define instructional leadership, but what facilitating factors and barriers they face in the role as an instructional leader. Data sources for this study included five focus group interviews among 39 Alabama assistant principals. In addressing how assistant principals define instructional leadership it was found that specific knowledge and skill sets as well as dispositions are needed. The specific knowledge sets needed were 1) knowledge of curriculum, 2) knowledge of instruction, 3) knowledge of data, and 4) knowledge of people. The specific skills sets were: 1) collaborates with faculty and staff, 2) recognizes teacher abilities, 3) builds relationships with stakeholders, 4) models instruction, 5) leads professional development, 6) delegates responsibilities, 7) provides growth opportunities, and 8) creates a vision. Lastly, the specific dispositions needed were: 1) being trustworthy, 2) having drive, 3) showing care, 4) being well balanced, and 5) being a role model. Assistant principals also faced facilitating factors and barriers in serving as an instructional leader. Four facilitating factors to instructional leadership were found in this research study. They were identified as: 1) strong support systems, 2) job experience, 3) required instructional leadership activities, and 4) new instructional leadership preparation program. Four barriers to instructional leadership were also identified in this study: 1) socialization to the role, 2) time, 3) limited leadership capacity building opportunities, and 4) assistant principal to principal relationship.