Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education


As educational reforms become more complex, the role of the principal as a change agent also becomes more challenging and dynamic. To confront the leadership demands of schools, principals require focus, passion, wisdom, courage, and integrity.

An underlying assumption of these traits is the principal's emotional fortitude. Emotional intelligence is as complicated as it is organic, in that its foundation rests on an individual's awareness of himself/herself and how these emotions drive his/her ability to relate with others. With this comes the question, what makes a successful principal? The purpose of this research was to explore the relationship between a high school principal's emotional intelligence and his or her success as a leader.

Participants of this study included five principals who were recipients of IPA's (Illinois Principal Association) Illinois High School Principal of the Year Award. To better examine the extent to which emotional intelligence has had an influence on their work as principals, these participants were asked to complete the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal ®. Additionally, they also participated in a 60-minute interview as a way to gain additional insight on how they might have perceived their leadership qualities and practices that have contributed to their success as high school principals.

The findings of this study revealed a relationship between high school principals' emotional intelligence and their success as leaders. In particular, self-management was identified as strength while social awareness was a weakness - even for a group who has been recognized by their peers as successful leaders.

Creative Commons License

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