Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership and Curriculum

First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Marita Mahoney



As Gentilucci and Muto (2007) proposed, Principals need to find strategies and tactics to have direct, positive effects on Students. Little research has been done which takes the key stakeholder perspective, the Student, into account. Students’ perspectives may be critical as they are the focus educational services delivered, and may have insights into how they might best be served.

The primary focus of this exploratory research was to examine Students’ perspectives on effective Principal leadership behavior. This subjectivist research paradigm, or “insider perspective” (Gentilucci, 2004; Gentilucci & Muto, 2007) was important in determining the effectiveness of Principal leadership. The secondary purpose of the study was to examine perceptions from Educators’ and Students’ perspectives; and, thirdly, to determine the congruence between these perspectives.

This mixed-methods research work involved completion of the Vanderbilt Assessment of Educational Leadership (VAL-ED), by 31 Educators at four schools to collect Educators’ ratings of their Principal’s effective Principal leadership behaviors. Twenty Grade 5 Students participated in one-on-one interviews, to provide Students’ perspectives, which were analyzed through a phenomenological approach.

Key findings which emerged: uncovering Educators’ and Students’ perspectives of the effective leadership behavior of the participating principals; the lack of congruence between Educators’ and Students’ perspectives; and four themes revealed through an analysis of Students’ interview data were found in contemporary models of effective Principal leadership behaviors. Student voices identified leadership behaviors which improve student achievement.