As national and state expectations for school leadership comptencies increase, new principals face an ever expanding role. Yet, scant attention is paid to the unique contextual needs of the varied school settings in which principals find themselves. This study surveyed rural superintendents of small districts (1-300 students) and mid-sized rural districts (301-600 students) to discover their perceptions of the developmental needs their principals display. Seven areas of need were identified by the respondents, of which three pertained uniquely to the rural principalship. The three areas were: understanding the K-12 school structure, preparing for the isolation of rural life, and knowing how to provide instructional leadership in an environment of scares resources (human and material). The superintendents were also asked their perceptions of the effectiveness of various principal training program delivery models. Discusses the cohort program, online-training and state approved alternative certifiction.

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