Journal of Educational Leadership in Action


This exploratory, qualitative multiple-site case study examined how principals’ knowledge of early childhood learning, pedagogy, and practices (or lack of) influences their leadership decisions and assessment of teachers. Data collection included four different elementary school configurations and consisted of multiple data sources including the use of a video simulation. The twelve guidelines of Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) and the Professional Standards of Educational Leaders (PSEL) provided a framework for thematic analysis. The results of this study show principals have a limited understanding of early childhood pedagogy which influences their hiring decisions when filling teacher vacancies. Additionally, results indicate principals’ assessments of teachers do not reflect early childhood pedagogy and could be negatively affecting teacher evaluations. Finally, this study revealed principals’ limited training and teaching background in early elementary grades may impact their ability to offer quality feedback for teachers needing instructional improvement.


Dr. Megan Hallissey, , Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Middle Level Education, Columbus State University, has taught for over 25 years in both elementary and middle school settings, served as an administrator, and now is a professor who teaches both principals and teachers in a university setting. She regularly presents at local, state, and national conferences including presentations for the American Educational Research Association and her current research endeavors reflect interdisciplinary research examining the disconnect between developmentally appropriate practices, experiences of school administration, and teaching practices occurring within school settings. [email protected]

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