Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Van E. Cooley


The study focuses on the principals’ leadership and empowerment as a curriculum leader in meeting district and state mandated performance goals. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 represents a key increase in the role of the federal government in public education.

The research questions in the study addressed the levels of principals’ instructional leadership and empowerment as associated with number of years as teacher, number of years as principal, participation in an aspiring principal program, school size, school locale, and whether their school passed district or state accountability test.

As to principals’ leadership, principals reported that they had higher level leadership and empowerment in developing inservice professional development, deciding budget, and evaluating teachers. However, their leadership and empowerment was lower in engaging in staff development and evaluation of curriculum and instruction development.

As to the relationship between principals’ leadership and their professional and school characteristics, I found that principals’ “number of years as a teacher” prior to becoming principals and “participating in aspiring principal program” contributed positively to principals’ instructional leadership. As to empowerment, principals’ “number of years as a teacher” prior to becoming principals, “participating in aspiring principal program,” and “number of years as a principal” were all statistically significant, positive predictors at the elementary school level, but not at the secondary school level.

Looking at principals’ leadership and empowerment and whether their schools passed the accountability test, it was found at the secondary level that principals’ “facilitating student learning” was a significant, positive predictor for the schools’ passing accountability tests, and that at elementary school level, principals’ level of “influence on establishing curriculum” was a significant, positive predictor for the schools’ passing accountability tests.

As to the direction for future studies, additional longitudinal research should be conducted to provide evidence of relationship between principals as instructional leaders and student achievement. Additional research study should also be conducted on the chain of leadership from principals’ instructional leadership behaviors, to teachers’ teaching, and to student achievement.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access