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

Nicholas Miller

Third Advisor

Kay Worner

Fourth Advisor

Roger Worner

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Secondary, Principals, Task, Analysis



“The principal’s role in delivering quality education has long been recognized as an important organizational characteristic of schools. How principals should perform their roles, however, has been the subject of debate” (Smith & Andrews, 1989, p. 21). Since the inception of the principalship, the role of the principal has encompassed all operations of their school. During the early 1900s principals were primarily managers of facilities. Principals were predominately male teachers who performed clerical administrative duties such as the school schedule, length of year, facility management etc. (Kafka, 2009). As the role of education in our society has grown, so has the principalship. Each decade has brought changes to public schools as the needs of society have changed. Schools grow and change, and at the head of each school is a principal who is responsible for this growth and change (Goodwin, Cunningham, & Eagle, 2005).

During the 1950s and 1960s, our country went through turbulent times in the arenas of social change and global competition. Schools became the focus of change in order to help solve the inequities in society and to help us compete scientifically and economically on the world stage. By the 1970s, our educational systems ranking on the world stage started to suffer. Principals were directed to focus on instructional leadership in order to better prepare our students to compete globally. Rigorous education of children was prioritized as a means for America to better compete in the global society (Drake & Roe, 1994). “His cardinal function is the improvement of instruction, which will enhance the learning experiences of his students” (Melton, 1970, p. 2).

Society has seen major changes over the past 100 years, socially and scientifically. Technology is now part of our schools and everyday experience. As society has evolved, so has public education and the role of the public school principal. Duties have been added to the principalship, nothing has been deleted. The management issues of previous decades still exist and the instructional leadership duties continue be expanded upon. With all the responsibilities of today’s principalship, what are the most important functions for principals to perform? There is continuous conflict within the definition of the principalship as instructional leader or building manager or both (Portin & Jianping, 1999). “The historical conflict between the instructional leadership role and managerial aspects of the principalship has had a major impact on the entire profession” (Richardson, 1991, p. 9).

The purpose of this study is to determine those leadership tasks that consume the majority of Minnesota secondary school principals’ time. The study will examine Minnesota secondary school principals’ perceptions of those tasks they believe should consume the majority of their time. These perceptions will be compared to Minnesota secondary school principals’ reported time on job-related tasks. The study will ascertain whether or not Minnesota secondary school principals’ perceived priority tasks match actual time on task and if they spend more time providing instructional leadership or managerial leadership.



I dedicate this dissertation to all public school principals. Only those in the ranks understand the constant competing priorities. Only those in the position understand the desire to serve all students, all staff, and the constant struggle to be everything to all stakeholders. Only public school principals understand the sacrifice to self and family required to perform our jobs. I am humbled by the quality and professionalism of the principals I have met throughout my career.



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