Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Administration

Major Professor

Pamela S. Angelle

Committee Members

Mary Lynne Derrington, J. Patrick Biddix, Michael Lane Morris


The purpose of this study was to examine the role that fit may play in recruiting, hiring, and placing head principals, both from the perspective of the principals and from the perspective of the hiring bodies. District personnel, particularly superintendents and human resource directors, have been surveyed in previous research to ascertain general traits they look for in a head principal candidate (Kwan, 2012; Kwan & Walker, 2009; Pijanowski, Hewitt, & Brady, 2009). Little research exists, however, gathering in-depth qualitative data on the role of fit in the principal placement process.

Data were collected from ten principals in the first 3 years of their current placement as head principal and 6 district personnel (superintendents and human resource directors) responsible for hiring and placing head principals. The data were analyzed, and three themes emerged: the applicant, the school, and the relationships. Data indicated that both principals and those responsible for hiring and placing them gave significant consideration to the fit, or match, between a candidate for a head principal position and the school environment itself. While these considerations affected the final decisions regarding principal placement for district personnel, principals indicated a trust in and support for decisions about placement made by district personnel, even when they did not perceive a positive fit.

The findings from this study will likely benefit candidates for head principal positions and district personnel who recruit, hire, and place them. The findings also add to the body of knowledge on fit and support the theoretical frame used to examine the data.

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