Principal Self-Efficacy: Exploring the Role of Teaching Experience on Principals' Self-Efficacy Beliefs

Frank O Hernandez, Fordham University


Research on educational leadership concluded that principals influenced student learning. Given the effect of principals’ leadership on student learning, educational reform initiatives focused on increasing principal effectiveness. Recent policy changes in New York City more than doubled the number of pedagogic years of experience aspiring principals needed to qualify for leadership positions within the New York City Department of Education. Teaching experience was the gatekeeper to principal certification, and this change implied that teaching experience mattered for effective school leadership. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the effect of principals’ teaching experience on their self-efficacy beliefs by conducting semi-structured interviews of 10 New York City Bronx Elementary and Middle School principals with 3 or fewer years of leadership experience but who were experienced teachers. Multiple data sources including transcripts and documents were analyzed using the self-efficacy framework. The nine key findings of this study suggest that principals’ beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes were affected by their teaching experiences. Principals often drew upon their teaching experience to lead their respective schools. The implications are that these insights might (a) help understand principals’ motivations and behaviors, (b) inform leadership development as well as the recruitment, selection, and retention of principals, (c) inform policy regarding the selection and recruitment of well-qualified school leadership candidates, (d) highlight the influence of other professional experiences on principal’s efficacy, and (e) offer strategies to cultivate effective school leaders to enhance principal and teacher effectiveness as well as increase student achievement.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Education Policy|Education philosophy

Recommended Citation

Hernandez, Frank O, "Principal Self-Efficacy: Exploring the Role of Teaching Experience on Principals' Self-Efficacy Beliefs" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13879120.