Date of Award

Fall 12-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Jill Patterson, EdD

Committee Member

Daniel Gutmore, PhD

Committee Member

Shelley Jallow, EdD


Frequent Leadership change, Change, Turnover, Continuous Improvement, Leadership, Principal


Participants in this study, representing grades 6–12 practitioners in two schools with persistently lower scholar achievement and graduation rates, shared their experiences through open-ended surveys, semi-structured interviews, and reflexive journaling. The study employed an inductive coding process and triangulation of data sources to identify emergent themes.

Key findings highlight the challenges practitioners face due to frequent principal leadership changes. Participants described a sense of confusion, loss of self-esteem, and a lack of trust in constantly shifting initiatives. They expressed a strong desire for continuity and consistency in leadership and programs, as abrupt changes often disrupt the academic year and delay the implementation of new practices.

The theoretical framework for continuous change and teacher efficacy, combined with Kotter’s eight-step change process, provided insight into how participants navigated constant change without stable principal leadership and a vision for their school.

This study sheds light on the underexplored living experiences of educators subjected to frequent principal turnover and underscores the importance of their involvement in the decision-making processes. The findings call for a deeper understanding of practitioners’ challenges and the need for policies and practices that promote continuity and consistency in educational leadership to better support school improvement efforts.

Available for download on Friday, November 29, 2024