Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Graduate School of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Michael L. Cunningham

Second Advisor

Leonard Allen

Third Advisor

Teresa R. Eagle


The purpose of this descriptive study was to investigate how professional educators in West Virginia view the principalship and identify factors that influence a qualified principal candidate to pursue a position as principal. A review of the literature provided ten factors that frequently serve as deterrents to professional educators when considering the principalship and eleven factors that could motivate a principal candidate to pursue a position as principal. Using the Survey of West Virginia Educators Holding Principal Licensure, data were collected from professional educators who were currently serving as educators in West Virginia but were not currently in an administrative position. Descriptive statistics were used to identify and rank the factors that discourage and motivate educators to seek principal positions. The respondents identified the most important motivating factors to entering the principalship as being the personal and professional challenges, the desire to be a leader, self-actualization, strategic influence on education, the desire to broaden career options, increased salary, a stepping stone for a higher job and encouragement from colleagues. The respondents indicated that high stress, a large time commitment, accountability for achievement, large amount of paperwork, insufficient compensation, and too much responsibility were the main deterrents to pursuing the principalship. Participants in this study identified the personal and professional challenge associated with school leadership as the top reason for pursuing a school principal position. The desire to be a leader and self-actualization were the second and third most reported factors. These factors are intrinsic in nature and provide motivation associated with achievement, recognition and responsibility. The number one reason identified by participants for not becoming a school administrator was high stress. Time commitment and accountability were listed as the second and third reasons. It could be concluded that participants in this study view the principalship as extremely stressful with unrealistic time and accountability expectations.


School principals - West Virginia


Educational leadership