A Study of the Relationship between Principal Leadership and Teacher Morale in a K-12 School Setting

Viaud-Macones, Jennifer
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This study examined the degree of principal leadership style’s effect on teacher morale in 14 public schools in northern New Jersey with a total of 138 participants. Of the 14 participating schools, 10 schools were categorized as elementary level, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Four schools were categorized as high school level, serving students in ninth through twelfth grade. Factors guiding research included teachers’ consecutive years of educational service, high-stakes testing subject areas, and a school’s socioeconomic status to determine if they contribute to the relationship of principal leadership and teacher morale. Morale levels of teachers were calibrated using the Purdue Teacher Opinionaire (PTO) and the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI). The PTO measured factors affecting teacher morale. The LPI measured staff perceptions of principal effectiveness in relation to the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership (Kouzes & Posner, 2012). The study was quantitative in nature and employed a correlational research study design technique. Survey responses were analyzed using an Independent Sample t Test to measure relationship strength. Outcomes identified from this research will contribute positively to the greater educational setting, whether through contributing to leadership training for future principals, informing professional development for seasoned vesteds, or aiding in the creation of future teaching tools. Study results indicate that teachers involved in high-stakes testing and teachers working in the lowest socioeconomic educational environments felt significantly different than teachers not exposed to these factors. This research exposes pertinent leadership characteristics that may prove vital to the development of current and future school leaders and aid the development of specific professional development opportunities.