Principal teacher selection in high-poverty, high-performing schools




Rodriguez, Kristin

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The purpose of this study was to analyze the recruitment, selection, and retention processes of principals of high-performing, high-poverty schools. This qualitative study focused on the perceptions of principals who contributed to successful teacher selection processes in high-poverty schools. The following research questions guided the study: (a) What are the recruiting practices that principals use in highly effective economically disadvantaged schools? (b) What are the selection practices/processes in highly effective economically disadvantaged schools? (c) What are the retention strategies principals use in highly effective economically disadvantaged schools? A qualitative field study design with an interpretive approach was used to make meaning of the descriptions and interpretations of the teacher recruitment, selection, and retention practices and strategies utilized by principals of high-performing, high-poverty schools. Eleven participants were purposefully selected from a single, large, urban, fast-improving, and predominantly economically disadvantaged Texas school district. The participants in the district were selected according to decentralized hiring practices, student demographics, and a track record of success. Semistructured interviews were conducted, which allowed the researcher to focus on the research questions and have flexibility as new ideas and relationships were formed. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and reviewed for accuracy by the researcher and participants. Participant responses were analyzed by assigning codes to the transcripts, and the second round involved focused coding to develop categories. The categories were developed into nine themes of teacher recruitment, selection, and retention. The data revealed three themes about principal recruitment practices: (a) the district takes initiative, (b) marketing the campus, and (c) networks. The three themes of principal teacher selection processes that emerged included: (a) mutual choice, (b) a rigorous interview process, and (c) teacher characteristics. The findings included three themes of retention strategies used by principals: (a) campus characteristics, (b) investing in teachers, and (c) pay-for-performance. The revealed themes provide implications for principals in economically disadvantaged schools when making teacher selection decisions.


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