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Abstract

Principals in today’s schools have more experience, have more education, and are of a more advanced age than ever before (National Association of Elementary School Principals [NAESP], 2006). Women elementary principals in the nation have increased from 41% to 56%. Likewise, the age of principals at all levels has increased, as did the percentage of principals who had more than 20 years of experience before entering the position (NAESP, 2006). In addition, the number of elementary principals has increased by 7,000 over the past 10 years (NAESP, 2004, 2005); this number grew to 61,000 in 2003-2004 from 54,000 in 1993-1994. Of these 61,000 principals, approximately 14,000 served schools in rural areas, 17,000 served schools in urban areas, and 31,000 served schools in suburban areas. Thus, more than half of the elementary principals in this country currently serve schools that are classified as suburban. In addition, the number of principals of all levels increased during the same 10-year span from 104,600 to 115,000 and more than half of all principals in the United States work at elementary schools (NAESP, 2005). Therefore, an understanding of the largest group of principals and their characteristics is important for many reasons.

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