Puerto Rico school principals: Leadership perceptions and practices in schools in need of improvement

Jacqueline Bocachica Gonzalez, Fordham University


The phenomenon of school leadership in Puerto Rico is explored in this study, which was an examination of the perceptions and practices of 12 elementary school principals. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory that functions within a unique political structure yet is held to the same standards as all U.S. districts. The primary method of data collection in this qualitative study was in-depth interviews. Data were analyzed according to research questions designed to elicit principals’ perceptions of accountability and leadership practices they executed to improve student achievement. Principals’ insights about the supports and hindrances to their work are included. Among the eight themes emerging from the study were: principals perceived accountability mandates as necessary but unfair; they prioritized clear expectations and focused on instruction to improve their schools; and they indicated that bureaucratic processes and limited resources hindered their work. Most principals, however, describe their leadership role as a vocation. Recommendations for policy and practice included the need for increased equity in resource allocation to Puerto Rico’s schools and improved leadership development and support. Suggestions for future research included an analysis of educational policy development and strategies for sustaining the improvement of public education in Puerto Rico.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|School administration|Organization Theory

Recommended Citation

Gonzalez, Jacqueline Bocachica, "Puerto Rico school principals: Leadership perceptions and practices in schools in need of improvement" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10116317.