Date of Award

August 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership P-12

Committee Member

Daniella Hall

Committee Member

Jane C Lindle

Committee Member

Hans Klar

Committee Member

Jacquelynn Malloy


The purpose of this study was to explore the micropolitical actions of a new-to-place veteran assistant principal in an unfamiliar rural site. Past research offers several different perspectives about the experiences of assistant principals, including socialization and job duties. There is little research, however, on veteran assistant principals who enter new assignments, or on assistant principals working in rural communities. Using an exemplary case design using the theory of micropolitics, I examined an assistant principal’s ability to perform the expectations of the job while addressing challenges resulting from local site characteristics.

Through data triangulation of semi-structured interviews, observations, and document analysis, the themes of community expectations, communication, and the effects of conflict were identified. The assistant principal excelled in using social media and honoring local expectations as micropolitical acts. However, the assistant principal struggled in responding to conflict. The findings revealed how micropolitics can be mutually beneficial in rural schools when school leaders align their communication practices with those of the community. The findings also explain the importance of rural APs understanding the expectations of community members and choosing appropriate micropolitical responses. The results indicated that assistant principals must honor and understand rural community characteristics while acknowledging that conflict is an inherent aspect of micropolitical actions in schools.

The significance of my study is that it is one of the first to address veteran assistant principals in rural settings. For scholarship and research, this study provides a foundation for future scholarship on the micropolitical actions of assistant principals in rural communities. For practitioners, the study suggests the need for assistant principals to identify ways in which they can improve a school community while increasing their own political standing. For educational leaders, the results indicate a need to increase mentoring for assistant principals with a particular emphasis on managing conflict.



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