Job Satisfaction of High School Principals in Virginia

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Virginia Tech

High quality effective leadership for high schools is critical due to the social, political, and economic pressures placed upon public education. Due to these increasing pressures and ever higher accountability placed on principals, job satisfaction may decrease. The principal's job is complex and demanding; however, thoughtful examination of the principalship and the variables that contribute to job satisfaction can better equip school district leaders to retain principals. Researching aspects of job satisfaction is important because a job is not merely life sustaining, but positively life-enhancing, and enriching (Darboe, 2003).

Through my associations with other principals, I see many administrators who appear to be unsatisfied in their jobs. As a result of my interests and experiences, I have conducted a study, based on a previous study completed at the middle school level by JoAnn Newby (1999), to explore job satisfaction among high school principals in Virginia. For this study 183 high school principals in Virginia responded to an internet survey using the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) to explore the specific variables of gender, age, salary, number of assistant principals, years as principal, tenure, school socio-economic status, school size, and school accreditation status to determine which variables may or may not contribute to job satisfaction. A multiple regression was utilized to determine the relative impact that the criterion variables in predicting job satisfaction.

The findings of this study suggest that high school principals in Virginia were generally satisfied with their jobs. The principals who responded were least satisfied with their level of compensation and most satisfied with being of service to others. The step-wise multiple regression completed for this study revealed that the significant predictors of job satisfaction were the number of assistant principals and Virginia Accreditation status. Those principals whose schools were fully accredited and those principals who had three assistant principals were significantly more satisfied than those principals whose schools were not fully accredited and those principals who had less than or more than three assistants. Results from this study are useful as they serve as a motivating force for those who are trying to gain more information about the high school principalship in Virginia.

Job Satisfaction, High School Principals