Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award


Degree Type



Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Mary M. Chandler

Second Advisor

Dr. Ugena Whitlock


The purpose of this study was to examine principals’ perceptions of Georgia’s new principal evaluation system, Leader Keys Effectiveness System (LKES). This study focused on principals’ perceptions of LKES’s ability to evaluate their effectiveness, align to their day-to-day operations, and inform their professional growth. This research study was conducted utilizing a Survey Design and a Convergent Mixed Method Design. This was accomplished by using a descriptive rating, Likert-type LKES Perception Survey to collect quantitative and qualitative data from principals across 83 schools in one of the largest school districts in Metro-Atlanta, Georgia. Specifically, the LKES Perception Survey gathered principals’ perceptions of the effectiveness of the 15 components, eight Leader Assessment on Performance Standards (LAPS), 10 objectives, and three weights utilized in LKES.

The findings of this study indicated that a majority of the principals believed they would be effective with or without LKES and they did not believe LKES was effective at helping them grow professionally. However, the principals perceived all of the LAPS to align to their day-to-day operations. Furthermore, elementary, middle, and high school principals perceived the effectiveness of LKES significantly different; especially elementary and high school principals. However, a principal’s years of experience, sex, or their school’s Title-I status, does not affect their perceptions of the overall effectiveness of LKES.

These findings inform principal evaluation policymakers there are improvements that need to be made to LKES to increase its overall effectiveness and its ability to inform principals’ professional growth. These findings also inform principal evaluation policymakers that they need to build measures in LKES that allow for differentiation based on school level but they do not need to invest resources in adapting LKES based on a principal’s years of experience.

Overall, these findings will help principal evaluation policymakers and principal evaluators better understand how LKES is perceived by principals. Informing Georgia’s principal evaluation policymakers of principals’ perception of LKES will help them better design systems that are effective at increasing principals’ effectiveness, informing their professional growth, and that are differentiated by school level. Principal evaluators can use the findings of this study to help them better understand how to make the evaluation process more effective and impactful on a principal’s performance. All of these findings are vital because the role of the principal is constantly evolving, therefore, this is the time for states to critically study their principal evaluation systems and redesign them to accurately measure a principal’s effectiveness and support their professional growth. Redesigning principal evaluation systems will aid in creating more effective schools and improved outcomes for some of public school’s lowest performing students by improving principal effectiveness through accurate and effective evaluations.