1Department of Educational Leadership, Ball State University
Nicholas P. Elam, Ph.D.
Department of Educational Leadership, Ball State University
Teachers College 909
Muncie, IN 47306
Nicholas P. Elam, Ph.D is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Ball State University. His research focuses on athletics leadership in school settings.
Twice as Tough: Perspectives of High School Athletic Directors Serving as Assistant Principals
Purpose – Many school districts are seeking to consolidate their administrative teams. For better or worse, some school districts are doing so by combining the titles of High School Assistant Principal (AP) and High School Athletic Director (AD), placing the demands of both roles on one individual. Extensive research exists regarding the nature of the assistant principal role, and extensive research exists regarding the nature of the athletic director role. However, little to no research exists regarding the unique nature of the dual AP/AD role. This qualitative study addresses this gap in research.
Methods – Sixteen AP/ADs from one Midwestern state participated in this study, offering candid and rich responses during a one-on-one interview lasting approximately one hour. Interview transcripts were analyzed through line-by-line open coding, followed by axial coding.
Results – From these interviews emerged six major themes: Assistant Principal/Athletic Director dual titles exist primarily as a cost-saving measure; Some see themselves as an Assistant Principal-first, others see themselves as an Athletic Director-first; Those who see themselves as an Assistant Principal-first have lower morale than those who see themselves as an Athletic Director-first; Few formal programs are in place to proactively promote academic achievement among student-athletes; AP/ADs rely heavily on their support network to navigate the mental toll and extensive time commitment; Misconceptions exist about the roles and responsibilities of assistant principals and athletic directors.
Conclusions/Applications – Findings of this study imply that AP/ADs need a new type of support, for mental health and practical purposes, that is specifically tailored and formatted for AP/ADs.(more…)