Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. John B. Nash

Second Advisor

Dr. Kenneth D. Royal


The continued expansion of principals' responsibilities is having a detrimental effect on their job satisfaction; therefore, it is increasingly challenging to retain these important leaders. Effective principals can impact student learning and other vital outcomes; thus, it is important to be able to retain effective school leaders. Examining the perceived sources of principals’ satisfaction and dissatisfaction with their work has strong implications for policies and practices that can be implemented to increase principal retention.

The purpose of this study was to measure the job satisfaction of head principals in Kentucky. The research conducted was an exploratory study using survey research methods. The study sought to obtain a census sample of all head principals throughout Kentucky’s 174 public school districts (N=1,158). A total of 478 responses were collected providing a response rate of 41%. A profile of the demographic and personal characteristics of Kentucky principals was constructed, and principals’ satisfaction with specified job facets was measured using the Rasch Rating Scale Model (RRSM).

Findings determined that economic job attributes were not significant sources of dissatisfaction for principals in this sample. Principals were also found to be satisfied with psychological job attributes with the exception of the effect of their job on their personal life. Data in this study indicated that head principals in Kentucky were: (a) highly dissatisfied with the amount of hours they work; (b) highly dissatisfied with the amount of time spent on tasks that have nothing to do with their primary responsibility of improving student outcomes; and (c) highly dissatisfied with the lack of time they are able to spend on tasks that are directly related to improving student outcomes. A primary implication of this research was that Kentucky policy makers and superintendents could simultaneously increase principal retention and student outcomes by eliminating managerial job tasks not directly tied to instruction from the principalship so that principals can focus solely on instructional leadership.