Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Christopher Janson

Second Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Cornett

Rights Statement

Third Advisor

Dr. Matthew Ohlson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Wallace Harris

Department Chair

Dr. Elizabeth A. Gregg

College Dean

Dr. Diane Yendol-Hoppey


Although, the concept of instructional leadership is a not a new idea, it has become an increasingly popular term in education in recent years. Instructional leadership provides the foundation for teaching and learning within a school. Such federal educational initiatives as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have sought to improve student achievement have also changed the landscape of school leadership. As accountability and high-stakes testing measures continue to rise, the need to closely explore and understand the ideology of instructional leadership has become more prevalent. Qualified school leaders with a keen focus on instruction must be well-prepared to lead schools and meet the needs of 21st century students. Specifically, the role of assistant principal is called upon to expand in instructional leadership to help meet ever evolving school challenges. From a historical perspective, within the literature, little attention has been given to the development, selection, training, and support of assistant principals. This has led to the increasing marginalization of this group of school leaders. The purpose of this study is to explore the shared perceptions that secondary assistant principals hold toward their development as instructional leaders given the support from their principals’ leadership actions and transformational practices. Thirty-four secondary middle and high school assistant principals’ perspectives were explored using Q methodology. Participants performed a Q sort of thirty-eight statements to examine their subjective viewpoints toward their own development as instructional leaders. Four perspectives emerged from the study, Relational & Support, Coaching & Collective Collaboration, Data-Driven & Feedback, and Professional Development & Strategic Planning. Each perspective leads to a deeper understanding aligned with the development of the assistant principal as instructional leader.