Parents' perceptions of the characteristics of effective school principals
Davison, Gary Richard
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The purpose of this study was to examine parents’ perceptions of the characteristics of effective principals. The Principal Effectiveness Measure-Parent Form (PEM-PF) was given to parents in a suburban school system in North Georgia. Parents were asked to rate the characteristics of an effective principal via an electronic survey. Six hundred and one parents responded to the electronic survey. Principal component factor analysis indicated that parents feel the most important characteristics of an effective principal are: (a) managing and maintaining a positive school climate, (b) involve the school in community issues, (c) collaboration with parents, and (d) caring for students. Additionally, analyses of variance indicated no significant differences among parents’ perceptions of the characteristics of effective principals based on school level of child/children or annual household income. Several recommendations for principals were made. First, regardless of household income or school level of child/children the four factors are of primary importance to parents as they work with principals. Second, a high level of interactions with their school principal presents a tremendous opportunity for principals to establish and maintain positive relationships with parents. Principals should use this opportunity to work with parents so they have power in the school. Third, if parents feel they have the ability to express their feelings and perceptions without retribution, there will be a sense of trust with principals with which they can build a relationship. Finally, school boards and superintendents should support principals in their efforts to build partnerships with parents. Recommendations for future research include conducting research using a more ethnically diverse population of parents to survey, questioning what parents feel constitutes varying levels of parental involvement, and planning strategies principals could use to help design programs for parent involvement in the school.