Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Jeanne Surface


The principal holds a pivotal role within a school community. Approximately 15–22% of principals in their first 5 years resign from their positions (Fuller et al., 2018; Goldrink & Taie, 2018). High principal attrition rates decrease student achievement, the quality of learning, and staff morale and retention (Fuller, 2012; Louis et al., 2010; Wallace Foundation, 2013). This qualitative case study evaluated the relationship between the experiences and self-efficacy of first-year elementary principals serving in Midwestern schools. Within semi-structured interviews, seven research participants described experiences that shaped their self-efficacy during their first year of their principalships. The relationship between the research participants’ mentorship experiences and efficacy beliefs reveals opportunities to enhance professional mentorship for new principals. School districts should align mentor selection with the mentee’s needs and provide professional development to mentors regarding mentoring strategies to support novice principals. In addition, mentors and mentees should establish clear expectations and goals to guide their relationship. Quality mentorship provided to novice principals could improve their self-efficacy, job satisfaction, and retention.


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