Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Practice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Dr. Marvin Berkowitz, Chair


Dr. Thomas Hoerr

Dr. Melinda Bier


The purpose of this study was to determine if COVID-19 has shifted what teachers perceive they want from a principal. In addition, the researchers sought to find what post-COVID-19 teachers want from a principal for them to succeed. Success is defined as feeling supported emotionally, having the proper resources, and maintaining a desire to stay in the profession.

Researchers used a concurrent mixed-methods design to collect data. Because data were not collected before the pandemic, researchers used a retrospective design to gather pre-COVID-19 data. The survey instrument had nineteen pairs of Likert-based questions, aligned with 19 qualities that are historically important to teachers, and four open-ended questions. The Likert–based questions asked teachers to rate the importance of each statement post-COVID-19, then pre-COVID-19.

Researchers used the social media platform Twitter to recruit participants (n=446). Once consent was obtained, participants completed the Google Form survey. Nineteen paired t-tests were run to determine statistically significant shifts in the data. The qualitative data were analyzed using content analysis with pre-determined codes based on the quantitative questions.

A concurrent nested design was used to combine the data. The quantitative data was the primary source, while the qualitative data served as the secondary source. Researchers analyzed results separately and then together. Each quantitative statement showed a level of importance to teachers; however, four were not statistically significant.

Based on quantitative data, having a principal who is not a micromanager is the most important to success, while receiving feedback on instruction is the least important. The qualitative data helped to provide context around what teachers want from a principal to be successful. Seven themes emerged from the f data. Post-COVID-19 teachers want trust, time, communication, empowerment, relationships, stewardship, and instructional leadership.1 This research has led to the discovery that servant leadership is the leadership style that best encompasses these themes.

Additional Files

Niles and Pelster Dissertation Presentation(final).pptx.pdf (5092 kB)
Defense Presentation