School principal preparation programs have the obligation to ensure administrators are ready for the challenges that face them on a regular basis. This study investigated the effectiveness of school principal preparation programs. The purpose was to determine specific areas for which K-12 administrators are unprepared and the role school principal preparation programs play in helping administrators feel prepared for their roles, responsibilities, and duties. Administrators are expected to lead a diverse population of students and staff members while maintaining a budget, meeting state and federal requirements, understanding education reforms, implementing technology, and being responsible for daily operations of a school. Through the use of a mixed-study, there were several areas participants identified as weaknesses in their principal preparation
program. This study surveyed and interviewed administrators who were within their first three years of being an administrator. The most prepared responsibilities identified in this study were knowledge of school law, establishing and maintaining a vision and focus on a core set of organization goals, implementing research-based school improvement, maintaining a safe school, and developing high expectations for student learning. The least prepared responsibilities identified in the survey were dismissing staff members, developing the master schedule, developing the school calendar, and scheduling parent/teacher conferences. Interviewed participants identified creating a vision of learning, ethics, importance of diversity and equity, collaborating with stakeholders, creating a school culture, and addressing facilities/maintenance as the six ISSLC standards they were most prepared to handle. The five least prepared ISSLC standards were evaluating teachers to increase student achievement, using technology to increase
student achievement, managing human resource and personnel, preparing a budget and managing finances, and evaluating curriculum and best practices.