Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Gary Schnellert


The purpose of this study was to identify advantages and disadvantages, such as scarcity of resources, of the rural principalship in North Dakota. The study and review of literature explored availability and lack of resources that impact North Dakota rural principals' leadership. The unique challenges of a rural principalship had an impact and influenced instructional leadership of rural principals. An era of accountability has forced a shift in the principal's role, duties, and expectations (Rice, 2010). This shift has been difficult on both rural and urban principals. This study included a sampling of six rural principals in North Dakota. The research focused on factors that support or impact a rural principal's effectiveness and school/community relationships including: leadership, professional development, education, and personnel. Six rural principals were interviewed, and the data was coded into categories, themes, and then assertions. Outcomes identified for rural principals were: key support systems, availability and scarcity of resources, current professional development practices, and impact of a rural environment on a leader. This study provides recommendations for principal preparation programs, rural principals, and school districts in rural settings.