Principal's Office, The
A Social History of the American School Principal
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: State University of New York Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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List of Illustrations
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I wrote this book while serving as chair of my university’s Department of Educational Leadership, which, as it turned out, was the perfect setting for thinking about school principals. My department offers an excellent master’s and licensure program for aspiring school principals, and my observations of those brave and energetic students, and the former school administrators ...
Introduction: Go to the Principal’s Office
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This study of the history of the school principal began, literally, at the door of a principal’s office. A few years ago when I walked the hallways of a high school with my five-year-old niece Evie, she remarked, without prompting: “There’s the principal’s office: you only go there if you are in trouble.” As an educator and an aunt, I wondered how the office of an educational ...
Chapter One: Preceptors, Head Teachers, and Principal Teachers: School Leadership through the Late Nineteenth Century
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Before the creation of the principal’s office, school leaders worked under limited organizational structures, with minimal guidelines and expectations of their work. This thin administrative framework left them largely reliant on their own individual leadership skills and directly dependent on com-munity approval. The simplicity of the system allowed for both flexibility ...
Chapter Two: The Making of the Principal’s Office, 1890–1940
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In September 1925, when Roald Campbell became principal and teacher of the seventh and eighth grades at Wilson School in Bingham County, Idaho, he was nineteen years old and freshly graduated from Idaho Technical Insti-tute, with one semester of experience practice teaching. To prepare for his new position, Campbell borrowed a friend’s Model T Ford and drove forty ...
Chapter Three: Outside the Principal’s Office: Principals, Democratic Leadership, and Community Change
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Ethel Thompson Overby, the first black woman principal in Richmond, Virginia, believed that, above all else, the school principal was a community educator. As principal of two racially segregated elementary schools in Rich-mond between 1933 and 1958, Overby employed literacy and citizenship education for her school’s students, teachers, and parents with the explicit ...
Chapter Four: Cracks in the System: School Leadership, 1945–1980
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In 1952, an elementary principal in rural southern New Jersey described the challenges of his job in a period of rapid educational change. In his four years as principal of the Woodstown Elementary School, Howard Morris had seen the enrollment increase from 423 to 639 students, had overseen the construction of a new school building, and had incorporated staff and ...
Chapter Five: Bearing the Burden: The School Principal and Civil Rights
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In the winter of 1971, when Alton Rison began his job as the first African American principal of Francis Scott Key Junior High School 117 in the Bedford Stuyvesant District of Brooklyn, New York, he faced an angry group of parents, a divided teaching force, and a school that had by all accounts become an “educational disaster area.” The school was located in a notorious ...
Chapter Six: Instructional Leaders in High-Stakes Schools
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In a high-poverty elementary school in Annapolis, Maryland in the 2005–2006 academic year, principal Tina McKnight oriented the bulk of her atten-tion to supervising teachers in a highly scripted math and reading curriculum required by the district. When McKnight started her position at the school five years earlier, less than 20 percent of students performed satisfactorily on ...
Conclusion: In the Principal’s Office
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As I was completing this history of American school principals, I read an article in my local newspaper on the changing roles of principals that began managers, the guys in charge of making sure of two things: maintain-ing discipline when a student became too disruptive for the teacher Today, however, the article continued, the image of the principal has changed ...
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Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2013