Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jeanne L. Surface


The support of novice principals in their development as instructional leaders is an issue that impacts all school districts. Mentoring is a common method of supporting novices in their development and this study sought to understand the ways in which district members within a midwestern educational consortium were using mentoring to increase instructional leadership skills. First, the study sought to understand how districts supported development of instructional leadership through mentoring. Second, the study looked at if and how districts adjusted supports to meet the modern shift in principal roles from building managers to instructional leaders. Through a combination of interviews and focus groups with members of the Educational Consortium’s Human Resources Task Force and practicing principals from member districts in a doctoral program at the member university, the study was able to build an understanding of current methods of support for novice principals as instructional leaders. It also offered an opportunity to understand the viewpoint of principals with less than ten years of experience, who received either formal or informal support as novices, and to compare those viewpoints to those expressed by the district representatives from the task force. The results of the study supported existing research that mentoring programs often focus mostly on the survival of a novice principal in their first year and are limited in their direct support for instructional leadership. The study also found that even within formal programs of mentoring novice principals, the overall structure and design was quite limited in the scope, objectives, and feedback systems. The study suggests that opportunities exist for member districts to utilize existing mechanisms in place within the Educational Consortium to create a more comprehensive mentoring program with specific efforts around: instructional leadership, clear outcomes for mentors and mentees, and systems for obtaining and utilizing feedback from mentors and mentees. It also advocates for the investigation of ways the consortium members can support mentoring in smaller districts where staff size does not currently allow formal mentoring to exist.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2015 Scott A. Sturgeon.

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