The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

John Eller

Second Advisor

Kay Worner

Third Advisor

Roger Womer

Fourth Advisor

Nicholas Miller

Keywords and Subject Headings

Leadership, Instructional Leadership, Middle School, Principal, Effective, Instructional Leadership, Uniqueness, Middle School


The purpose of this mixed methods study was to investigate the perceptions of middle school teachers and principals regarding the instructional leadership behaviors of the middle school principal in two top performing Minnesota middle schools. Similarities and differences in those perceptions were explored. Multiple data collection methods were used. The Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (PIMRS) was used to measure the perceptions of Minnesota middle school teachers and principals in relation to the principal's instructional leadership behaviors. Interview questions were based on the ten subscales of the PIMRS survey. Interviews were conducted in both schools with the principal, randomly selected teaching staff, and teacher focus groups. Analysis of the data revealed the most frequently perceived principal behaviors included clear goal setting, promoting instructional improvement and staff development, monitoring student progress, communicating the school's goals, supervision and evaluation of instruction, and building positive relationships and trust.



May this study provide principals everywhere guidance toward instructional leadership that makes a positive impact on the students we serve.


There are a host of individuals that assisted in making this study possible. To my best friend and wife, Nancy, your unwavering support throughout my doctoral coursework and dissertation was not only welcomed, but desperately needed every step of the way. To our children, Maya, Faith, Luke, and Kate, your patience with "Daddy's paper" has been extraordinary. The days of missing out on family activities are over!

Parents may not have a direct contact with the compilation of a dissertation, but their influence helped write the pages of this document. I will be forever grateful for the work ethic that my parents, Peter and Margaret, instilled in me while growing up on their dairy farm. I have accomplished much due to your nurturing and guidance throughout my entire life. To my mother-in-law Donna, your encouragement, support, and meals made our lives more bearable during the times that I was a "less than present" husband to your daughter.

To my immediate family and friends, I appreciate the support and encouraging words from each of you, even if you privately wondered what kind of journey I embarked upon. I look forward to reconnecting with all of you.

The principals and teachers that participated in this study receive special acknowledgement. Your time, energy, honesty, and thoughtfulness helped make this study a valuable contribution to principals in the area of instructional leadership.

A special acknowledgement to my dissertation committee chair, Dr. John Eller, for gentle prodding and questioning during this dissertation process. Finally, I would like to thank the members of my dissertation committee, Dr. Nick Miller, Dr. Kay Worner, and Dr. Roger Worner. I've been fortunate and grateful to have this exceptional group of educators providing direction and advice throughout this venture.



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