Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations


A Study of the Career Paths and Leadership of Male Principals in the Elementary Schools of Onio

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Patrick Pauken

Second Advisor

Mark Earley (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Terry Herman (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Dean Wittwer (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Judith Zimmerman (Committee Member)


The purpose of this qualitative biographical study was to develop a profile of five men in elementary principalships in Ohio public schools and gather information about specific career paths followed by these men. The study examined the influence social role theory had on male elementary educator career paths. In addition, the study explored the role that adult development theory, leadership styles, and the ethic of care played in shaping the career paths of these school leaders. The majority of research dealing with career paths of elementary school principals has been conducted in the context of the female principal. Little research, if any, has been completed on the topic of male elementary school principals. Research conducted in this study attempted to define the life experiences that contributed to the career paths and leadership of male elementary school principals as well opportunities seized by male elementary school principals toward achieving personal and professional success. Furthermore, research involved the long term career goals of the male educator prior to and after attaining the elementary school principalship.

The findings of this study support that male elementary school principal's career paths are similar in nature. As they approached the time for a college education, personal and social forces repel the men away from a possible career in elementary education. After several years teaching at the secondary or primary education level or working in careers outside of education, some men feel a desire to work with young children in a school setting. This desire evolves from a decision that caring for the well-being of young children allows for personal and professional fulfillment. After several years administrating over the development of young children, the male elementary school principal may seek other opportunities in the field of education.

The challenges facing males who desire to and become elementary school principals are significant and cause many males to look elsewhere for careers. If the current trend continues, males occupying elementary school principalships will be a rarity. In order for the trend to be reversed, a cultural shift must take place in our society and in colleges of education. Males need to strengthen their position as educational leaders at all grade levels. Colleges of education must focus significant amount of time developing an ethic of care and philosophy and psychology of moral development among their male education majors.