Date of Award

Spring 3-12-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Daniel Gutmore, PhD

Committee Member

Elaine Walker, PhD

Committee Member

Jeffrey Graber, EdD

Committee Member

Rita Seipp, EdD


AchieveNJ, Superintendents, Principals, Accountability, Hiring Principals


The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate New Jersey superintendents’ hiring decisions of principals during the implementation of AchieveNJ, the educator evaluation system. This policy created mandates for school districts, which were nonexistent in the past. The 2013-2014 school year was the inaugural year for AchieveNJ, and it is unknown if this new mandate has influenced superintendents’ hiring decisions of principals and whether superintendents’ own estimations of the new policy will shape their hiring decisions. The study described the influence, if any, AchieveNJ might have on superintendents’ hiring decisions of principals. A substantial amount of literature exists on the qualities superintendents’ value when making hiring decisions for principals; however, within this literature base, superintendents’ backgrounds influenced what principal qualities they looked for relating to their years of experience, education levels, district size, and so forth. (Dillon, 1995; Karol, 1988; Clark, 2003; Arrowood, 2005; Rammer, 2007; Weber, 2009). According to superintendents, there is not one accepted standard in principal leadership characteristics, although there are commonalities regarding: (a) instructional leadership, (b) management, (c) preparation and experience, and (d) communications. Based on previous research and the lack of literature on AchieveNJ, this study will investigate how a superintendent’s background may also influence the leadership characteristics considered to be desirable specifically in the areas of mentioned above. The significance of this study is to unveil comparisons, distinctions, and conclusions about the impact AchieveNJ has had on superintendents’ hiring decisions of principals, which will contribute to the literature gap on AchieveNJ. AchieveNJ impacted superintendents’ hiring decisions and instructional leadership is the most important leadership characteristic they look for in a principal. AchieveNJ was a new variable in the research and it forced superintendents to rank principal leadership characteristics. This groundbreaking policy is at the forefront of accountability and serves an educational milestone.