Characteristics of Effective School Principals: A Mixed-Research Study

  • Don P. Schulte University of Texas - El Paso
  • John R. Slate Sam Houston State University
  • Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie Sam Houston State University


In this multi-stage mixed analysis study, the views of 615 college students enrolled at two Hispanic-serving institutions in the Southwest were obtained concerning characteristics of effective school principals. Through the method of constant comparison (qualitative phase), 29 dominant themes were determined to be present in respondent-identified characteristics of effective school principals: Leader, Communication, Caring, Understanding, Knowledgeable, Fair, Works Well With Others, Listening, Service, Organized, Disciplinarian, Good Attitude, Patience, Respectful, Helping, Open-Mindedness, Motivating, Professional, Flexible, Being Visible, Honest, Good Role Model, Responsible, Builds Relationships, Involving, Consistent, Friendly, Focus on Schools, and Experience in the Classroom. An exploratory factor analysis revealed that these 29 themes represented five meta-themes. Then these themes (quantitative phase) were converted into numbers (i.e., quantitized) into an interrespondent matrix that consisted of a series of 1s and 0s and were analyzed to determine whether participants’ themes differed as a function of sex, ethnicity, college status, and first-generation/non-first-generation status. Statistically significant differences were present between undergraduate and graduate students, between males and females, between Hispanics and Whites, and between first-generation and non-first-generation college students. Implications are discussed.

Author Biographies

Don P. Schulte, University of Texas - El Paso
Don Schulte has served in the field of education for over 32 years. He has been a public school teacher, principal, and superintendent. He is currently an assistant professor.
John R. Slate, Sam Houston State University
John Slate is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling where he teaches doctoral-level quantitative analysis courses.
Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, Sam Houston State University
Anthony Onwuegbuzie is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling where he teaches doctoral-level quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method analysis courses.