Expectations of successful female small school principals

This paper forms part of a larger study investigating the experiences of twelve female teaching principals in small rural and isolated schools in their first year as school principal. The schools to which they were appointed had student enrolments ranging from 12 to 86 and were in geographic areas with no township, where the school building was the only structure, to small towns of less than 500. This study sought to discover the expectations stakeholders in small schools had of successful female teaching principals and the expectations teaching principals had of themselves. Interviews with both cohorts indicated a shared expectation that the teaching principal would come equipped with excellent communication skills, sound teaching knowledge and the ability to establish and maintain community relationships. Additional expectations from teaching principals related to their leaders hip, meeting systemic administrative requirements and balancing their work and personal lives. For stakeholders additional expectations included being organised in relation to isolation and having positive personal characteristics.