Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Scholars have demonstrated that school leadership is second only to instruction in terms of school-level impact on student learning. Additionally, researchers and policy makers have argued that in order to ensure aspiring and novice principals develop the leadership and instructional competencies necessary to improve schools, they need to be provided with authentic learning experiences and supported by knowledgeable mentors. This case study explored a unique combined principal mentoring model, developed by the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) that spans from the pre-service phase into the early in-service phase. In order to provide a rich description of the model, the study applied a mentoring model framework that included 16 key elements drawn from literature on mentoring and four characteristic of knowledge transmission theory. The study was grounded by two Illinois statutes that mandated principal mentoring for candidates completing preparation programs and for all those serving for the first time as school principals. The study relies heavily on the state statutes and regulations, UIC program documents, and semi-structured interviews with program designers and mentors. In the final phase of the study, a survey was conducted with UIC students to further data triangulation.

The analysis builds upon previous mentoring research and increases understanding of how a combined principal mentoring model can be constructed to provide a continuum of support for school leaders. The analysis conducted by this study highlights the key elements and characteristics of the UIC mentoring model and describes the extent of similarities and differences found in the design and delivery of the pre-service and the in-service phase of development. The data lead us to consider how partnerships between universities and districts could be structured to provide ongoing support for school leaders throughout their careers. The research offers insight into how one program chose to bridge an artificial divide found in research and policy, between pre- and in-service phases, to create a cohesive approach that eases transition for educators advancing from the classroom to the principal’s office.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.