Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Renee Gugel

Second Advisor

Heather Anichini

Third Advisor

Geri Chesner


The assistant principal role often serves as a stepping stone to the principalship, though there is little research about how to best prepare the assistant principal for success in this leadership transition. The focus in this study was to examine the key leadership experiences that best prepare assistant principals for success in their positions and to advance into a principalship. This mixed-methods study took place in a large suburban school district in Illinois that encompasses 28 schools. The participants were assistant principals and principals. Data collection occurred through an assistant principal survey and principal focus group interviews. The findings revealed a need for assistant principal mentoring. With this in mind, recommendations include creating a systematic assistant principal mentoring program that clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the assistant principal, outlines onboarding, and includes considerations for professional development. The study also includes recommendations for state- and district-level policies related to mentoring.