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Challenges for Novice School Leaders: Facing Today’s Issues in School Administration
Educational Leadership and Administration (2016)
  • Russell L. Claxton
  • Andrea P. Beam, Liberty University
  • Samuel J. Smith, Liberty University
Challenges for novice school leaders evolve as information is
managed differently and as societal and regulatory expectations
change. This study addresses unique challenges faced by practicing
school administrators (n=159) during their first three years in a
school leadership position. It focuses on their perceptions, how
perceptions of present novices compare to those of experienced
school leaders, and how pre-service programs can better prepare
them for these challenges. Findings showed that perceptions of
present novice school leaders vary somewhat from those of
experienced school leaders. Two themes shared relatively the same
prominence among experienced leaders as they did with novices:
navigating politics and gaining a sense of credibility. Experienced
leaders expounded more on specific political hurdles with school
boards, other teachers, and parents, and—regarding these same
populations—experienced leaders voiced that they wished they had
been more successful in their earlier years in developing credibility
more quickly with stakeholders. A theme not occurring at all among
present novices but noted by five experienced leaders was that of
adjusting to the culture of a new school as its leader. This
phenomenon may be explained by the value more seasoned leaders
have developed for factors inherent in a campus culture.
  • educational leadership,
  • principalship,
  • induction,
  • orientation
Publication Date
March, 2016
Publisher Statement
This article was published in Educational Leadership and Administration 2016, Vol. 27 145-162. Permission has been granted by NCPEA Publications ( to upload this contribution to Liberty University’s scholarly repository. All Rights Secured. No copy of this file may be sold or reprinted in whole or in part. To purchase the entire journal issue that contains this contribution, please visit the website of the publication.
Citation Information
Russell L. Claxton, Andrea P. Beam and Samuel J. Smith. "Challenges for Novice School Leaders: Facing Today’s Issues in School Administration" Educational Leadership and Administration Vol. 27 (2016) p. 147 - 162
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