Important competencies for the selection of effective school leaders : principals' perceptions
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This study focused on competencies considered important in the selection of principals from the perspectives of effective principals on the Texas–Mexico border. The competencies of effective K-12 principals included in the study were initially advanced by Marzano et al. (2005). Specifically, an attempt was made to determine which competencies are considered important, how these were assessed during the selection of effective principals, and whether differences in importance existed by school level (elementary, middle, and high school). Using purposeful sampling, the principals were selected from a list of high-performing schools from data provided by the Center of Research, Evaluation and Advancement of Teacher Education. A total of 100 principals participated in the study. Data were collected using an electronic survey and analyzed using descriptive statistics. Additionally, emerging data were analyzed using the narratives provided by the respondents in reference to other competencies and other ways the competencies were assessed during the selection process. Findings indicated that whereas all the identified competencies were endorsed to be considered in the selection of an effective school leader, 2 were the most important: communication and visibility. Next highest in importance were focus; involvement in curriculum, instruction, and assessment; and culture. Additional findings indicated 8 emerging competencies, with the premier being data-driven decision making. Findings also indicated that most of the competencies were assessed by means of two types of interviews: interview with the committee or interview with the superintendent or designee. On the other hand, some of the respondents reported the competencies were not assessed, but a few were assessed using other methods, such as checking references, a Gallup survey, and experience in the district. Some were simply appointed to the position. Findings also indicated that the endorsement of the identified competencies differed by school level to some extent. Communication was endorsed as most important by elementary and middle school principals, whereas the high school principals endorsed visibility as the most important competency to consider when hiring a principal. Finally, implications for the selection of effective principals are offered. Moreover, suggestions for further inquiry that might illuminate other aspects of the hiring process are presented.