Date of Award

2020

Access Restriction

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctorate in Education

Department

Education

School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Jill Bickett, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Maureen Kindel, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Heather McManus, Ed.D.

Abstract

While the experiences and challenges of principals at Title I schools has been studied, this research builds on those studies with the added dimension of exploring the perspectives of charter school principals who are new to the role and are working in the landscape of Title I schools in Los Angeles. This dissertation examines the history of charter schools and provides a contextual overview of charter schools and charter school accountability measures in the United States and in Los Angeles, with the added political context of the charter school landscape in Los Angeles after the historic Los Angeles teacher union strikes in 2019. The dissertation utilizes qualitative research to explore the experiences of six new charter school principals at Title I schools through semi-structured interviews, a focus group, and reflective field notes. The experiences of the new charter school principals are analyzed through transition theory and the three phases of transition (Bridges & Bridges, 2016) and transformative leadership practices (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). Findings explore the experiences of leaders who take on the mantle of principalship at Title I charter schools in Los Angeles, and how being new brings a unique dimension to those experiences. Findings also indicate that charter school principals value collaborative leadership and often use transformative leadership practices throughout their transition to the principalship during the first few years. The findings highlight the need for structured mentorship, coaching opportunities, and support xiii for new charter school principals and brings credence to the myriad of responsibilities and challenges inherently unique to leading Title I charter schools in Los Angeles.

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