Date of Award

Fall 12-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

David Lee

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Richard Mohn

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Lilian Hill

Committee Member 4 School



The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of the relative impact of principal transformational leadership as it relates to school accountability status. Teachers from schools that have been assigned the labels of A, B, C, D, and F by the Mississippi Department of Education were surveyed. A quantitative design was used to test six research hypotheses to see if any differences exist between the perceived leadership behaviors of school administrators by teachers among the accountability labels. The principal leadership behaviors, which were based on transformational leadership theory, were (1) provides vision, (2) models appropriate behavior, (3) fosters a commitment to goals, (4) provides individualized support, (5) provides intellectual stimulation, and (6) holds high expectations. The results from this research can improve professional development provided to school principals by district personnel as well as give guidance in hiring and placement of school principals.

While the research suggests that principals have an indirect relationship in student achievement, finding the behaviors that best support student learning will help future principals make better-informed decisions to improve student achievement. It is worth researching if a difference exists between administrators of schools with A and B labels and those who have a C, D, or F label assigned to the school. Because it is widely understood that the effects of school leadership on students are largely indirect (Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999), answering the question of how the principal affects student learning means searching for the most powerful factors of leadership influence on student achievement (Leithwood, Patten, & Jantzi, 2010). Principals play a critical role in the schoolwide efforts to raise standards and expectations in teaching and learning; however, evidence of what makes successful leaders remains elusive (Day, 2000).