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What motivates teachers to leave the classroom and enter an educational leadership program in pursuit of administrative credentialing? This study revealed several discrete themes based on a text-driven content analysis of 83 student writing journals. Leadership skills/experiences, internal and external motivations are discussed. Implications for leader preparation/recruitment are presented.

In addition to published in the Connexions Content Commons, this manuscript is catalogued in the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) database providing a comprehensive, easy-to-use, searchable Internet-based bibliographic and full text database for education research and information for educators, researchers, and the general public. (California Association of Professors of Educational Administration/U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences Contract No. ED-04-CO-0005)

About the author

Leigh Barton is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at California State University, Fullerton.

When I told my colleagues that I was going to get my master’s degree in educational leadership, one replied, ‘So you’re going over to the dark side.’ Anonymous, administrative credential student, 2008.


Deciding to move from the classroom to the front office involves a great deal of thought; after all, some teachers view such a move as going over to the dark side while others consider it moving into the light . Having spent more than half of my career in public school leadership positions, I never considered the move from classroom teacher to school leader would be considered a move to the dark side . But after listening to aspiring school leaders describe their personal motivations to lead schools, my curiosity was piqued. What motivates teachers to enroll in educational leadership/administrative credential programs? What motivates them to leave their classrooms aspiring leadership positions? Are they abandoning their chosen profession of teaching in considering a move to the dark side, or are they called into the light by external forces?

When I first explained my practice of using student writing journals in all of my classes, a colleague suggested a very interesting prompt for the first class of the first course in our masters level, administrative credential program in educational leadership – Why me? Why now? Its use has revealed a great deal about the students entering this program and has afforded an opportunity to study their motivations, interests and concerns. But more importantly, the responses offered a first-hand look into how our curriculum could and should serve the needs of our students, as well as how to better recruit students into the program.

Our program is a graduate-level, Tier I administrative credential program in a large comprehensive four-year university in southern California and serves teachers who aspire to be educational leaders. During a four-year period, from 2007 to 2010, over 200 program completers responded to an online, end-of-program survey in which they reported their post-program aspirations. When asked their ultimate professional goal in the field of education, half of them wanted to become assistant principals or principals; an additional 10% aspired to be assistant superintendents or superintendents, while 32% wanted to become district administrators. Among this group only 8% reported wanting to stay in the classroom as teachers. The question remains - if students enter the program aspiring to school leadership and leave the program with professional goals to become leaders, how do we better address the content of the program to prepare them for leadership positions? And how can we use this information to recruit future aspirants?

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
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Source:  OpenStax, Educational leadership and administration: teaching and program development, volume 23, 2011. OpenStax CNX. Sep 08, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11358/1.4
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