Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Joseph Kretovics

Second Advisor

Dr. Nancy Mansberger

Third Advisor

Dr. David Hartmann


School leaders, success, skills, principals’ perspectives, Saudi principals, quantitative analysis


In 2011, the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Saudi Arabia began reform of its educational system to improve school performance, especially student achievement. The MOE has realized the importance of developing school leadership to lead the process of change, focusing on principals as change agents. The new MOE vision, therefore, places principals at the center of education reform initiatives. As a result, principals are expected to enact different roles, and must improve their leadership capacities to successfully lead reform efforts. Specifically, the new expectations for principals include:

  • Building a vision concentrated on student education and learning,
  • Developing the process of education and learning,
  • Managing the process of change according to a scientific methodology,
  • Communicating with all stakeholders, and
  • Creating an innovative environment to develop learning communities.

In order to meet these expectations, principals in Saudi Arabia first need to examine their current leadership capacities based on a validated leadership assessment. The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) developed a framework called, 10 Skills for Successful School Leaders, which provides such a validated assessment (NASSP, 2014). The NASSP (2014) framework closely matches the new MOE vision, and therefore, was used to guide this study.

This descriptive survey research sought to determine the degree to which Saudi principals believe they currently use NASSP’s (2014) 10 leadership skills, and their perceptions of the importance of these skills to the process of school change. In a web-based administration of the survey, data was collected from 338 public school principals in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. Findings indicate the principals perceived using the 10 skills with high to moderate frequency. Written communication, teamwork, and oral communication skills were perceived to be used in their work more than other skills. The principals, however, believed all skills were highly important for leading and facilitating change. Principals rated the ability to understand one’s own strengths and weakness, teamwork, and oral communication skills as most important to being a successful school leader. Finally, there was a positive liner relationship between the use and importance of the 10 skills. Suggestions for policy, practice, and future research are offered.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access