Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




The purpose of this study was to examine the Iowa elementary school principalship through the eyes of its principals. The investigation focused on the preoccupations, orientations, beliefs, and preferences of Iowa elementary school principals;The study took place in February 1983 and all 640 of Iowa's public elementary school principals received a survey instrument. The group was asked to respond to 135 wide-ranging questions. Over 70% (N = 451) returned the completed instrument;While it was not the intent of this study to prove or disprove a set of hypotheses, some statistical tests were employed to help acquire a more thorough understanding of differences between large and small district principals as well as among those who practice in urban, suburban, and rural settings. The main statistical procedures selected were t-tests, analyses of variance, and Pearson's correlations;A number of areas were investigated. An analysis of the findings revealed a great deal about the Iowa elementary school principal. (1) The typical Iowa elementary school principal is 46, male, married, and has two children. He has a master's degree, taught for five years and been a principal for fourteen years. (2) The strongest attractions of the principalship were that is offered greater challenge and responsibility than teaching. (3) The major costs or disadvantages were salary and being a "public servant." (4) Far and away the most critical job responsibilities were supervision of instruction and teacher evaluation. (5) A principal's good day is one in which s/he can interact with students and make a difference for them. (6) Principals were frustrated by hectic days, paper shuffling, and lack of recognition for themselves, their staff and students. (7) Helping a child succeed, receiving a thank you note from a parent, and getting the teaching staff to pull together on a difficult problem were ways which principals most enjoyed being rewarded. (8) Principals viewed the ideal school as having 300 to 400 pupils, teachers with from four to eight years of experience, parents who are moderately active in school affirs, and a curriculum that is slightly more innovative than traditional.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Robert J. Vittengl



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

179 pages