Building 21st Century Education Leaders: A Multiple Case Study of Successful University-District Partnerships for Principal Preparation
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The focus in this qualitative multiple case study was to examine how four successful university–district partnerships for principal preparation were addressing the need to produce effective campus leaders and the impact universities and districts in such partnerships had on each other and aspiring principals. The study included 16 participants who served in the role of professor, district representative, current advanced student, or graduate from each of the four principal development programs. Data collection included documents, archival records, and interviews with stakeholders at each university and school district. Data analysis involved a process of analyzing and comparing data from the interview transcripts, memos, and artifacts collected as well as a continuous process of comparing data to the existing literature on university–district partnerships and principal development.
The findings from this multiple case study research indicate university–district partnerships for principal preparation are highly effective models for developing future educational leaders. Supportive and consistent leadership within both the university and school district is critical to the success of a university–district partnership. The identification of a viable funding source to sustain a long-term partnership is essential to a lasting partnership for principal development. Future principals benefit most from the university–district partnership when they have an opportunity to apply research-based practices learned in the classroom to real-world experiences through an internship model.
A theoretical model of a university–district partnership for principal preparation emerged from the study that addresses the problem of effective principal development. The data collected from the study support the six components of the theoretical model, which are principal competencies, funding, marketing, recruitment, pedagogy, and real-world experiences.