Ambiguity in Leadership: Perceptions of the Instructional Leadership Role of the Assistant Principal

dc.contributor.advisorBrandon, James
dc.contributor.authorMarler, Rita Marie
dc.contributor.committeememberSpencer, Brenda L.
dc.contributor.committeememberFriesen, Sharon
dc.description.abstractThis case study utilized multi-methods to address an identified gap in practice and in theory: the role of the assistant principal is largely undefined and unrealized. The purpose of this research was to investigate the distinct role of the assistant principal in instructional leadership by answering the following question: In what ways do assistant principals, as instructional leaders, support high-quality teaching and optimal learning? In this research I combined participant observation, document review, and a questionnaire and an activity log disseminated through Qualtrics Software to Battle River School Division’s (BRSD’s) participating principals and assistant principals to elucidate the following: the roles that are typically filled by assistant principals (i.e., instructional leader, teacher, school manager, student disciplinarian); the ways in which assistant principal roles are determined (i.e., authoritatively assigned and cooperatively determined); the main challenges to instructional leadership (i.e., district budgetary constraints, insufficient time, efficacy and confidence issues, insufficient personal initiative); and opportunities for instructional leaders (i.e., personal growth and learning, professional learning opportunities, and career advancement). The research reveals that assistant principals support high-quality teaching and learning through direct delivery, analysis and exploration, modelling, risk-taking, problem-solving, collaboration and communication, relationship building, organization, and innovation to create educational environments with the following characteristics: a collaborative and cooperative culture that values and builds relationships between all stakeholders; excellent communication; a safe, healthy, and inclusive environment; a dynamic approach to learning and teaching that encourages research-based analysis, innovation, and self-directed and life-long learning. The study concludes with a BRSD Instructional Leadership Model, which features distinct role descriptions for the principal and the assistant principal.en_US
dc.identifier.citationMarler, R. M. (2020). Ambiguity in Leadership: Perceptions of the Instructional Leadership Role of the Assistant Principal (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from
dc.publisher.facultyWerklund School of Educationen_US
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Calgaryen
dc.rightsUniversity of Calgary graduate students retain copyright ownership and moral rights for their thesis. You may use this material in any way that is permitted by the Copyright Act or through licensing that has been assigned to the document. For uses that are not allowable under copyright legislation or licensing, you are required to seek permission.en_US
dc.subjectEducational Leadershipen_US
dc.subjectRole of the Assistant Principalen_US
dc.subjectInstructional Leadershipen_US
dc.subjectEducational Administrationen_US
dc.titleAmbiguity in Leadership: Perceptions of the Instructional Leadership Role of the Assistant Principalen_US
dc.typedoctoral thesisen_US Graduate Program – Educational Researchen_US of Calgaryen_US of Education (EdD)en_US
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