Instructional Leadership for a School-Based Innovation

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Virginia Tech


This study looked at the leadership style of one public elementary school principal that chose single-gender education as an innovation to manage and improve student behavior and the leadership of the principal during the implementation process. The anticipated outcome was that the researcher would discover that the principal followed steps outlined in professional research, however, what was learned were that some principals do not adhere to those guidelines.

In this study, the principal researched, implemented, and oversaw the implementation, and she strategized a short-term plan for teacher training and support. Outside complexities, such as the simultaneous implementation of the Responsive Classroom® program and looping, influenced the implementation of the innovation as well as the principal's leadership of the program. Another influential factor affecting the principal's leadership was the lack of long-term planning for ongoing training and support of the initiative.

Leading an innovation as unique as single-gender education is a multi-faceted process. Assessment of a principal's leadership of an innovation has multiple layers of complexity as well. These stem from the principal's rationale for the innovation and the methods used to initiate, implement, and sustain it. When leading an innovation, leaders rarely follow a prescribed path as outside factors arise that either enhance or derail the innovation. The leader must have the ability to analyze these factors and make essential alterations while maintaining integrity to the innovation. The leader must also have the ability to analyze individual participant needs during the implementation process and provide re-direction when the innovation deviates from its desired outcome.



Implementation, Innovation, Leadership, Single-gender Instruction