Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Andrew Lumpe

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Karen Maxwell

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Daniel Bishop


A school principal is a critical asset to the success of a campus, teachers, and students. Their role is and will continue to be complex with many responsibilities and challenges. Researchers have implied a disconnect between the level of a principal’s practice to their knowledge in the production of student success. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to reveal a deeper understanding of the theory-to practice gap between the professional practices of high school principals and their knowledge. This study attempted to answer the what, how, and why to help establish foundational information for improving and creating ongoing leadership training and development for both principals and those aspiring to be principals. In this case study, the researcher conducted one-on-one semistructured interviews via Zoom, gathered research-generated documents from the state educational websites, and collected leadership survey results for two mid-Atlantic high school principals. Framing the case with the SLII® model, the findings indicated a presence of situational awareness to overlap with building professional capacity through relationships and reflective practices. With observation, feedback, and reflection, the participants were able to engage in a situational approach to address the needs present. The findings suggest that the human element holds the influence on the gap of principal knowledge, practices, and student outcomes while illuminating the importance on relationships and reflective practices.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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