Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education



First Advisor

Kathy Peno


This study explores the ways school leaders develop their leadership skills on the job as they navigate through the increasingly complex demands on them (Drago-Severson, 2009). This study sought to understand how school leaders of varying years of experience perceive their skill development once on the job. Participants in this study are members of an Association of School Principals in New England. Each participant was interviewed, identified their perceived skill development using the Five-Stage Model of Adult Skill Acquisition (Dreyfus & Dreyfus, 1992) and supplied an artifact that supported their level of skill development. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed. The data analysis led to the following main themes- mentorship, reflective and self-reflective practices, time management, and collaboration. These themes will be useful in understanding what types of professional learning supports school leaders need to assist them in developing their skills to be, and continue to be, effective leaders.