The interpersonal relationships between principals and teachers in the North Carolina Career Development Program

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Virginia Tech


Career ladders emanated from the reform movement of the eighties. Little could be found in the literature on how principals and teachers relate to each other under these arrangements. This study investigated the relationships between principals and teachers in three elementary schools in one district that operated under the state’s Career Development Program in North Carolina.

Interviews were conducted with principals and a random sample of five teachers in each of the three schools. Analysis focused on the patterns of relationships between principals and teachers.

Major findings revealed that relationships between principals and teachers were open, positive, and caring. Principals believed their relationships with teachers were closer and stronger since the implementation of the Career Development Program.

Teacher effectiveness training that accompanied the Career Development Program provided a pedagogical structure and common language for teachers. The teachers believed the training helped them to become more competent. Teachers and principals reported principals were more involved in the classroom and conducted more frequent formal observations and evaluations. Both groups believed the principal had more paperwork under the Career Development Program. Principals and teachers believed the evaluation system worked. Teachers did not trust outside evaluators if they observed in areas outside their field or school level.

The overall conclusion of this study is that relationships between teachers and principals became more focused on an instructional model that increased conformity, possibly reduced creativity, and increased the feelings of competence of teachers.