Date of Award

Winter 12-7-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Anthony Colella, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Barbara Strobert, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Barbara McKeon, Ed.D.


efficacy, turnaround, improvement, achievement, underperformance, leadership, efficacious


Studies have determined a positive relationship exists between the self-efficacy of students and academic achievement, and teacher efficacy and student achievement. For over a decade schools have been publicly targeted for school improvement in a process with implications for efficacy. The purpose of this qualitative study was to determine if principals’ perceptions about efficacy impacted their practices leading school improvement. Principals’ responses to two research questions led this study:

1. How do principals describe their perceptions about the efficacy of their school community relative to the school improvement status, label, or rating for their school?

2. How do principals describe their perceptions about the efficacy of their school community relative to their strategic decision-making processes for the school improvement process?

Emerging themes were efficacy and morale, data-driven processes, framework for school improvement, efficacious leadership and variances among faculty. Significant findings revealed the negative school label had no impact on the efficacious perceptions of principals, but was interpreted as a form of “public branding” that indefinitely stigmatized schools. The principals were able to develop efficacious school cultures among extreme ranges of teacher expertise by strategically creating balanced professional interactions that promoted professional growth and efficacy.

Recommendations for research include professional development that promotes efficacious practices and strategies to mitigate negative impacts. Recommendations for policy include consideration of efficacious leadership qualities for underperforming schools and broader criteria for school performance labels. Recommendations for practice include efficacious criteria for school improvement leaders and earlier interventions at the emergence of underperformance indicators.