A mixed methods investigation of the perceptions of the instructional leadership practices at two Bureau of Indian Affairs high schools in South Dakota
The purpose of this mixed methods research study was to investigate the perceptions of the principals' leadership practices at two Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) high schools located in South Dakota. The dissonance between the principals' and teachers' perceptions was studied. The impact of the principals' leadership styles on their teachers was explored. In addition, essential instructional leadership practices for principals of schools with Native American students were investigated. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used to derive a comprehensive, integrated analysis. Qualitative data collected through 20 semi-structured interviews were coded and analyzed. From this analysis, five themes emerged: Leadership Qualities, Leadership Communication, Building Within, Instructional Focus, and Developing Teachers.
The research used a Leadership/Impact survey in the quantitative component of the investigation to determine Leadership Effectiveness, Leadership Impact, and Leadership Strategies of the principals. The dissonance or gap between the principals' self-reported use of Leadership Strategies and averaged reports of All Others was determined. In the area of leadership effectiveness, one principal was reported as a traditional, day-to-day, manager, while the other principal was rated as a visionary, future-oriented, leader. One principal's strongest impact overall was in the category of Passive/Defensive with his primary behavioral impact Dependent, and his secondary behavioral impact Avoidance. The second principal's strongest overall Impact on Others was Constructive. His primary behavioral impact was Affiliative, and his secondary behavioral impact was Achievement . In addition to the leadership practices derived through the qualitative component of the research, other Leadership Strategies were derived from the quantitative component. There was a great deal of dissonance between the principals' self-reported use of Leadership Strategies and the reports by others. Several leadership practices considered essential for principals of BIA high schools are presented.