Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Pauline Stonehouse


This small-scale qualitative study examined the perceptions of elementary principals, mentors and beginning teachers regarding the principal's role in promoting beginning teacher professional growth within comprehensive induction programs. This role may not be clear to principals, mentors, beginning teachers or induction program leaders. In recent years, the call for principal instructional leadership is in the forefront of the literature with increasing emphasis placed on academic standards and accountability. This emphasis is shifting the focus of principal instructional leadership from teaching to student learning. Mentors and principals are working together with beginning teachers to accelerate professional growth and impact student achievement. This three-way relationship creates a triad of educators invested in supporting beginning teachers and accelerating their professional growth.

Qualitative study methods were used, including interviews, district, and state program level document review. For the purposes of this study, participants included four elementary triads working in different building sites within the same Midwestern district.

Five broad themes emerged from the analysis process: (a) healthy school cultures and trusting relationships influenced beginning teacher professional growth; (b) beginning teachers relied on their mentors to prepare them to be successful in the eyes of their principals; (c) the mentoring and induction program structure influenced beginning teacher's experience; (d) supervision and evaluation promoted beginning teacher growth within the structured mentoring and induction program; and (e) all participants benefitted from the mentoring experience when communication occurred within the triad. It is essential for induction leaders at local, regional and national levels to recognize the importance of individual principal's beliefs, dispositions, and actions in setting the tone for the work of the mentoring and induction program at their school sites. The absence of systematic and consistent principal interaction limits opportunities for consistent feedback and the development of trusting relationships and professional growth for all teachers.