School Leadership and Reform: Case Studies of Philadelphia Principals

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Publication Date
May 2001


This study represents an effort to learn more about how Philadelphia principals experienced the transition from expectations that they be ‘site-based managers’ responsible for acquiring and directing human and financial resources, encouraging teachers to think deeply about their practice, and meet an expanded and public sense of accountability to a role that was dramatically changed under the Children Achieving reforms under Superintendent Hornbeck. The study suggests that when the new structures confronted a pervasive legacy of bureaucracy., anonymity, and compliance, principals often felt they lacked organizational support for change. Principals described a new vulnerability, including a sense of accountability without authority.


  • Mary Helen Spiri